Coleman suffers head injury in shower, in concussion protocol

Falcons running back Tevin Coleman, the team’s second-leading rusher, slipped in the shower and suffered a concussion on Wednesday.

The Falcons (7-7) are set to face the undefeated Carolina Panthers (14-0) at 1 p.m. Sunday at the Georgia Dome.

He’s now in the concussion protocol program, coach Dan Quinn said on Thursday.

“He slipped in the shower yesterday and fell and hit his head,” Quinn said. “He’s in the concussion protocol. That’s unfortunate.”

Coleman, the team’s third-round draft choice, has rushed 87 times for 392 yards and one touchdown. He rushed for 110 yards on 18 carries in the loss to Minnesota on Nov. 29.

Coleman opened the season as the starter before fracturing his ribs in the second game of the season. Devonta Freeman took over and went to have a stellar season. He was selected to the Pro Bowl on Tuesday.

If Coleman can’t play, the Falcons efforts to balance the offense will take a hit. Terron Ward will move up on the depth chart.

“He will be ready if called upon,” Quinn said. “One thing I’ve always admired about Ward is that he’s got this grit to stay in it….the toughness totally shines through.”

Offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan was counting on using Coleman a little more against the Panthers.

“He was coming around,” Shanahan said. “He hasn’t gotten a lot of opportunities, but he’s done real good with the ones he’s had. I was disappointed for him. I’ve got a lot of confidence in Ward, too. So, I’m looking forward to him stepping it up for us.”

The Falcons ran the ball 33 times and passed it 35 times against Jacksonville after being out of balance over their six-game losing streak.

The Falcons are 5-1 when running backs Freeman or Coleman run the ball 20 times are more.

The Falcons beat Philadelphia, when Coleman had 20 carries. They beat Dallas, Washington, Tennessee and Jacksonville when Freeman has 30, 27, 25 and 25 carries.

They lost to Tampa Bay 23-20 in the first meeting when Freeman had 21 carries.