FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. – Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan suffered a sprained left (non-throwing) shoulder in the final minutes of Sunday’s 28-24 loss to the 49ers in the NFC Championship Game and will not participate in Sunday’s Pro Bowl, Atlanta head coach Mike Smith said on Monday.
Smith said the rehab process would not require surgery and should last three to four weeks. As a result, the Falcons expect Ryan to be healthy in time for the start of their offseason program on April 24. Ryan will do the rehab at the team’s practice facility here.
As such, Smith said the shoulder was neither separated nor dislocated. He would not comment on a report that said the shoulder popped out of the joint and the team’s medical staff popped it back in.
Tennessee quarterback Jake Locker dislocated his shoulder twice in the Titans’ first four games and underwent offseason surgery. Locker also suffered a fractured bone at the front of his shoulder and missed five games.
Smith said that if the Falcons had defeated San Francisco, Ryan would have played in the Super Bowl; however, perhaps still in mourning from the loss, he could not bring himself to call the game by its name, referring to it only as “the game in New Orleans.”
The injury occurred on the Falcons’ fourth-to-last play from scrimmage, as 49ers linebackers Ahmad Brooks hit Ryan on a pass play. In specific, the sprain was to Ryan’s left AC joint, which is formed by the outer end of the collarbone and the shoulder blade.
According to the Web site SportsInjuryClinic.com, the most common way of injuring the AC joint is “by landing on the shoulder, elbow, or onto an outstretched hand.” Symptoms associated with injuries to the area include pain at the end of the collarbone, swelling and pain in moving the shoulder, “especially when trying to raise the arms above shoulder height.”
A photographer for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Monday snapped a photo of Ryan with a sling around the arm while he was standing outside the team’s facility.
All of this comes as the Falcons are expected to negotiate a new contract for the two-time Pro-Bowler, who will enter his sixth season in the league in 2013. FOX’s Jay Glazer reported that the Falcons want to sign Ryan to a “mega-contract.”
The Falcons will likely wait until Baltimore re-signs quarterback Joe Flacco, who is from the same draft class as Ryan and has had far more success in the postseason. Flacco, who has guided his team to a berth in the Super Bowl, has won at least one playoff game in each of his NFL seasons. Ryan’s 30-28 win over Seattle in the divisional round on Jan. 13 was the first of his career.
After getting the measuring stick from Baltimore and Flacco, the Falcons would likely come in just under that number, which could range from $18 to $20 million per season, complicating Atlanta’s salary cap situation.