Falcons offensive tackle Kaleb McGary loosens up for the second practice at training camp on Tuesday, July 23, 2019, in Flowery Branch.
Photo: Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com
Photo: Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com

Falcons optimistic about McGary’s return

An inordinate number of Falcons players were sidelined by injuries in Sunday’s practice, yet head coach Dan Quinn said the team is optimistic that rookie right tackle Kaleb McGary may fairly soon be back in uniform even though doctors went into his heart five days ago.

McGary last Wednesday underwent a cardiac repair known as ablation in order to address an irregular heartbeat. It’s generally considered a minimally invasive procedure, meant to break up or create scar tissue in the heart in order to blunt erratic electrical impulses.

Even as McGary has by various reports undergone ablation previously, team officials believe that it’s possible that the first-round draft choice from Washington could be available for the Falcons’ regular-season opener Sept. 8 at Minnesota.

“I think so, and the reason I say that is we’re not going to know until he goes through some of the steps with the medical staff,” Quinn said. “The next marker for him will be in a week or two, and then another (examination) after that. The good news is this is nowhere near a redshirt year for him . . . it’s too early to tell.”

Several Atlanta players were sidelined for Sunday’s Military Appreciation Day at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, including Desmond Trufant (back strain), Foye Oluokun (oblique strain), Julio Jones (foot), Deion Jones (foot), Calvin Ridley (hamstring) and James Carpenter (hip flexor).

Also, Ra’Shede Hageman (groin) and Duke Riley (groin, hip flexor) were out again along with — based on injuries from Thursday’s 14-10 loss to Denver at the Hall of Fame game — Marcus Green (hamstring) and Kurt Benkert (toe).

The situation of Benkert, who is competing with Matt Schaub to be backup quarterback, may be most urgent. He will undergo additional evaluation to determine whether surgery is required. The Falcons signed former practice squad member Matt Simms Saturday as another quarterback.

“He’s going to get a follow-up on Tuesday to see where he is, a second opinion, but it’s something that’s going to knock him out for a while,” Quinn said of Benkert. 

Trufant’s absence came as a surprise as Blidi Wreh-Wilson and rookie Kendall Sheffield split his repetitions.

“He just kind of had a little bit of a strain of his back, and it was more of a coaching decision not to push it if it was still tight,” Quinn said. “He couldn’t quite get loose from this morning.”

McGary entered training camp in competition with veteran Ty Sambrailo for the starting right tackle spot.

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