Turner Working in rehab, isn't ruling out return to field
By Atlanta Journal-Constitution
December 23, 2009
FLOWERY BRANCH --- Despite re-injuring his ankle twice, Falcons running back Michael Turner will continue to try and play this season.
"He started his rehabilitation this morning," Falcons coach Mike Smith said Monday. "We want to get him back as quickly as possible because there are still two more games to play."
Turner was originally injured when Carolina's Chris Gamble tackled him in the second quarter of a game on Nov. 15 in Charlotte.
After sitting out two weeks, Turner came back against Tampa Bay on Nov. 29 and had 12 carries for 33 yards before he was hit on the ankle again. Then on Sunday on the first play of the game against the Jets, he was hit on the right ankle again by New York safety Jim Leonhard.
Smith said there was "no ill will" in Leonhard's hit.
With the Falcons eliminated from the playoffs, it was thought the team would consider resting Turner and allowing the ankle to heal.
"Our main goal for Mike is to get him as healthy as quickly as possible," Smith said. "I know that's Mike's mind-set as well."
Between the initial injury and the second one, Turner has missed just one complete game.
"I don't know if Mike is going to be ready to go [against Buffalo Sunday]," Smith said. "He is a quick healer. ... We're hoping he'll respond and come back."
Quarterback Matt Ryan received treatment for his turf toe injury after the game on Sunday, but was sore on Monday.
"We expected that to take place," Smith said. "We'll have to manage that situation through the next two weeks. Matt toughed it out."
Harris to IR
Safety Antoine Harris suffered a torn posterior cruciate ligament against the Jets and will be placed on injured reserve. Safety Charlie Peprah, the former Green Bay Packer who was signed on Nov. 4, took his place on special teams.
Johnson a force
Defensive tackle Thomas Johnson may have had his best game of the season against the Jets. His penetration was key to slowing down the Jets rushing attack. New York managed 99 yards in 33 carries.
"Basically I just had to attack them guys," Johnson said. "A lot of guys were catching them. You can't sit back and catch them. You have to get off the ball and attack them."
Wide receiver Roddy White needs 52 yards to become the second Falcons player to record three consecutive 1,000-yard seasons. Andre Rison first accomplished the feat from 1992 to 1994.
Turner needs 129 yards to reach 1,000 yards this season.
The last time Terrell Owens, the Bills leading receiver, played at the Georgia Dome (December 2006), he was a Dallas Cowboy and was fined $35,000 for spitting on former Falcons cornerback DeAngelo Hall. Owens needs two catches to become the sixth player in NFL history to record 1,000 receptions.