FLOWERY BRANCH -- Falcons backup running back Jerious Norwood participated in his first practice in almost five weeks Thursday.
He suffered a right hip flexor against Chicago on Oct. 18 and has missed the past four games.
"Even though I've been hurt, I still feel like I've got that little step that I need," Norwood said. "It won't be too much longer."
The Falcons will need Norwood on Sunday against the New York Giants because the team's leading rusher Michael Turner might be out with a high ankle sprain.
Turner has not practiced since suffering the injury Sunday against Carolina.
"It was good to get Jerious Norwood back out there," Falcons coach Mike Smith said. "He was able to participate in practice today. So that was a positive. So now we have to wait and see how he responds to the work that he did today."
Norwood passed Smith's "look" test.
"You can see that speed and Jerious smile out there, breaking in and out of the huddle," Smith said.
No passing fancy
Tight end Tony Gonzalez doesn't buy the theory that an excessive reliance on him has led to Matt Ryan's recent rash of interceptions.
"If nobody else is open, I'm there for Matt," Gonzalez said. "If nobody else is open and we need a play, I hope I can come up with that play."
Pro Bowl wide receiver Roddy White, who leads the team with 47 receptions, remains Ryan's top target. He has had 82 passes thrown his way.
Gonzalez, who is second on the team with 44 catches, has had 70 passes thrown his way.
"Roddy is still the guy, and he should be because he's an unbelievable talent," Gonzalez said. "He's a threat. He's a lot more of a threat than me to take it the distance if he catches it."
Ryan has thrown 51 percent of his 298 attempts to either White or Gonzalez.
"This year he's a getting a taste of what it means to be that big-time quarterback, where he's throwing it 40 times a game sometimes because we have to," Gonzalez said. "I think he's doing well. It's never as bad as everyone makes it out to be, and it's never as good as everyone makes it out to be."
Respect for Manning
Ryan likes one of Giants quarterback Eli Manning's traits.
"He wins," Ryan said. "He does it in different ways. Some weeks he's handing it off. Then in other games he's throwing it all over the place. But he seems to make plays at the end of games, when you need to make plays to win. I certainly respect that about him."
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