Terrible news coming out of Sunday’s surprising win against the Chicago Bears. Despite earlier indications that Kyle Pitts avoided major injury, an MRI indicated the star tight end tore his MCL, per NFL reporter Ian Rapoport.
Pitts went over the middle in the third quarter on Sunday, securing a catch before taking a low helmet hit to near his knee/thigh area. He jogged off the field with a small but noticeable limp and was ruled questionable to return.
Sources: #Falcons standout TE Kyle Pitts is believed to have suffered a torn MCL that would require surgery. This is following his MRI today. A brutal blow to one of the game’s best young players. He’ll have a second opinion before deciding what's next. pic.twitter.com/bR4PyMJNks— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) November 21, 2022
Per Ian Rapoport, Pitts will get a second opinion. If confirmed, he would undergo surgery, likely ending his 2022 season.
On Monday afternoon, we learned Pitts will head to injured reserve.
We have made the following moves:— Atlanta Falcons (@AtlantaFalcons) November 21, 2022
- TE Kyle Pitts to IR
- DL Ta'Quon Graham to IR
- DL Jaleel Johnson claimed off waivers
- TE John Raine signed to PS
- OL Justin Shaffer to PS IR
The good news, if there is any, is that Pitts has apparently avoided a more problematic ACL tear. Generally, an MCL tear heals quicker and better than an ACL. While early, there would be optimism Pitts could take part in some offseason activities ahead of the 2023 season, and that he could be fully healthy for next season.
Pitts has had quiet sophomore season behind Atlanta’s conservative passing attach. He had only 356 receiving yards and 2 touchdowns across 10 games while on the receiving end of scattered accuracy from Marcus Mariota, with the duo having a connection that seemed shaky all season long. It would still be a big blow to lose Pitts, a threat who has to be accounted for, a player who dominates snaps, and a tight end who had been asked to do a lot more blocking this year and was getting better at that. Without his big play potential, this passing game is likely to be even more limited.
With Pitts out, MyCole Pruitt would step up as the team’s top pass catching tight end, unless the Falcons are ready to unleash fellow former Titan Anthony Firkser. Pruitt has one touchdown and 31 yards on the season, and he, Parker Hesse, and Feleipe Franks will likely get more work in the passing game.