Running back Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman, who are recovering from hamstring injuries, will not play against the New York Jets on Friday night at MetLife Stadium.
Terron Ward, who started the exhibition opener against the Titans, is expected to start at running back for the Falcons.
Falcons safety William Moore (calf), defensive tackle Ra’Shede Hageman (concussion) and center/guard Peter Konz (knee) were ruled out by head coach Dan Quinn on Thursday.
Running back Antone Smith (hamstring) and center/guard Peter Konz (knee) also will not play against the Jets along with wide receiver Roddy White, who has an elbow ailment.
Moore and Hagemen suffered their injuries in practice Tuesday. Moore wore an athletic sleeve on his left leg during the team’s walk-through on Thursday.
Konz, who is coming back from offseason knee surgery, had a sleeve on his left leg on Thursday.
Kemal Ishmael will replace Moore and Jonathan Babineaux will replace Hageman on the starting defense.
Freeman and Coleman, who were expected to compete for the top running back job, returned to practice on Monday after suffering their injuries on Aug. 5 and 6. They were used sparingly in practice and not really expected to play.
By holding them out, the Falcons are hoping they’ll be ready for the third exhibition game, which will be the regular-season dress rehearsal. The Falcons play the Miami Dolphins on Saturday, Aug. 29 at Sun Life Stadium.
Quinn clearly didn’t want to jeopardize the progress that Freeman and Coleman have made while recovering from their injuries.
“I like where we are heading, but we are just going to take it up through tomorrow and make a decision,” Quinn said on Thursday. “They both have got some practice work at least and they are back out here which is a big thing. Just getting them back acclimated and getting them going again.”
In addition to Ward, the Falcons also have running backs Jerome Smith, Evan Royster and Michael Ford available.
“A couple of guys have made a big impact on special teams,” Quinn said. “We are looking to see what Michael can do on teams. Jerome as well. Those guys will have the opportunity to come through. They are answering the bell which I like to see.”