Falcons strong safety Keanu Neal suffered a torn Achilles heel and is out for the season, a league source confirmed to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Monday.
Neal went down late in the second quarter of the 27-24 loss Sunday to the Colts.
Kemal Ishmael took over for Neal. The Falcons lost J.J. Wilcox, a free-agent signee, to a season-ending knee injury in training camp.
“I don’t have any updates,” Falcons coach Dan Quinn said following the game. Quinn is scheduled to address the media Monday afternoon.
But players knew that Neal likely was out of the season.
“I said ‘Man just keep fighting,’ ” safety Ricardo Allen said. “I don’t really know the full thing, but in his eyes it didn’t look good.”
Neal missed most of last season after suffering a season-ending knee injury in the opener against the Eagles. Neal and Allen rehabbed together after Allen suffered a torn Achilles in the third game.
“He understands the grind,” Allen said. “He was with me last year. I was with him last year. So we understand what it takes to get back. We understand what this job requires of the body. We just have to keep being a believer, keep being strong and don’t let it bring him down.”
Allen knows it will be tough on Neal.
“It’s a long life,” Allen said. “You’ve got to keep that mind right.”
The hard-hitting Neal went to the Pro Bowl in 2017 and was considered the team’s enforcer on defense.
“It’s his second time and he’s a strong dude,” Allen said. “I don’t like seeing my bothers down. I don’t like seeing nobody down. Even the team we are going against, I don’t like seeing their guys go down. We have families at home. We have families outside of this. You want to play as hard as you can. As hard as you can for your team without hurting each other.
“God bless him. I’m going to keep praying for him. I’m going to keep being there for him. If there is anything that he needs he knows I got his back.”
Also, running back Ito Smith suffered a concussion and left the game. Jamon Brown suffered a hand injury and returned. Defensive tackle Grady Jarrett suffered a toe injury. Defensive end Takk McKinley left the game with a knee injury in the third quarter, but returned to the game.
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