Jones’ recovery from foot surgery on schedule

Falcons All-Pro wide receiver Julio Jones’ rehabilitation from his offseason foot surgery is progressing well and he has targeted the start of training camp for his return to action.

He had a bunion, a bony bump on his left foot that caused him to miss substantial practice time late last season, surgically removed in March.

“I just had to get something repaired,” Jones said in an interview with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “That was it. It was light. It wasn’t nothing.”

Jones has had two stress fractures surgeries on his right foot, raising concerns about this most recent surgery.

“I’m just so explosive,” Jones said. “Every year, it’s something with my feet. Hopefully, I’m glad, thank God, it hasn’t been anything with a knee or anything. But I’m an explosive player and my feet can’t really take it.”

Jones jogged off to the side while the team worked through an OTA (non-contact practice) on Tuesday.

“I go into the season expecting something might happen because I’m just that explosive,” Jones said.

Jones battled through the injury late last season through the playoffs. He was placed on a restricted practice plan and misses much practice time. He admits the injury was difficult to battle through.

“It was just the want to. I wanted to be out there with my team,” Jones said. “(Falcons coach Dan Quinn) did a great job. (Receivers coach) Raheem (Morris) and (offensive coordinator) Kyle (Shanahan), when he was here, they did a great job limiting me in practices and just listening to me as a player. I was like, ‘Hey, I can’t go today.’ That’s why some practices late in the season, I wasn’t practicing because of the pain.”

Jones’ goal never changed: to play the games at a high level.

“I didn’t want to go out there and it linger on into the game and I couldn’t go out there and give them 100 percent,” Jones said. “And I was already banged up. So, they helped me out to be able to finish the season the way I did.”

Jones turned in another spectacular season with 83 catches for 1,409 yards and six touchdown catches. He was slowed throughout the year by turf-toe, foot and shoulder ailments but missed only two games.

In the playoffs, Jones recorded 19 catches for 334 yards and three touchdowns. He made a spectacular catch in the Super Bowl to move the Falcons to the 22-yard line with 4:40 to play. But Jones has not watched the replay of the team’s collapse in Super Bowl LI.

“I haven’t watched the Super Bowl since the end of the Super Bowl,” he said. “People talk about it and it is what it is. It was just a game and it’s over and done with. You can’t change it by harping on it or talking about it. What are you going to do? That was last year. This is a whole new year. You just have to rebuild.”

With the Falcons clinging to a 28-20 lead over the Patriots, most thought the Falcons had things wrapped up after Jones made a spectacular catch along the sideline. But the Patriots prevailed in overtime 34-28.

“But it wasn’t (over),” Jones said. “They still had some fight in them. We just didn’t finish the way we wanted to finish. That was then and this is now. We just have to focus on this year. We just have to rebuild.

“We have to work with this team now. We lost some pieces from last year, but we also gained some pieces. We just have to gel again … let’s go one game at a time. If we get there, we get there.”

Jones, who starts his rehabilitation routine at 7 a.m. each morning, has been keeping up with the offense and believes the league’s top scoring attack will be dangerous again in 2017.

“We’re still out here,” Jones said. “Our offense is still potent. We have a lot of returning guys. We didn’t really lose anything on offense. We have a lot of returning guys on offense. We lost (wide receiver) Aldrick Robinson, but we definitely have some guys who can come out here and play.”

Jones has also been impressed with new offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian.

“Sark has come right on in,” Jones said. “Sark is a really, really cool OC. He listens. But everybody wants what they want. Obviously, you want perfection out here. But we all want perfection. It’s a standard here.”

The Falcons have basically given the hard-charging Jones all the time he needs to recover from surgery and other ailments. He said he’ll be ready to go by late July.

“There is no rush,” Jones said. “We are just really taking our time.”