Injury report: Falcons’ Arthur Smith wants to see progress by Wednesday

Hughes back at practice; Okudah, Patterson and Hodge are battling injuries

FLOWERY BRANCH — Falcons coach Arthur Smith is hoping to get some of injured players back by Wednesday, when the team starts game-planning for the season opener against the Panthers.

The Falcons, who lead the series 35-21-1, are set to host their NFC South foe at 1 p.m. Sunday at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

“Some of those guys will be back out there,” Smith said before practice Monday. “I’m very pleased with everybody (because they are) progressing. We get into Wednesday, and it will be an important day for those. ... We have to decide realistically, who’s going to be ready for Week 1.”

Cornerback Mike Hughes (soft tissue) was back at practice after missing the past three weeks.

Cornerback Jeff Okudah (ankle), running back Cordarrelle Patterson (soft tissue) and wide receiver KhaDarel Hodge (ankle) remain out.

Hughes and Tre Flowers are options to start at cornerback opposite of A.J. Terrell, with Dee Alford lining up at nickel back.

Okudah has been down since Aug. 4 and likely is a long shot for the opener, while Patterson also has missed a couple of weeks.

Before waiving him injured last month, the Falcons called wide receiver Frank Darby’s injury a “soft tissue” injury, which turned out to be a hamstring. Smith will have to issue his first NFL-mandated injury report Wednesday and will have to declare the injuries in more detail.

“They worked hard over the weekend rehabbing,” Smith said. “Most of those guys will be out there, with the exception of a few. Wednesday we really need to see something to determine which way we will go, especially with the game plan.”

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