A nagging left foot injury has limited Falcons All-Pro wide receiver Julio Jones for more than a month and prompted him to head to the locker room before the end of the victory over the Seahawks on Sunday. But coach Dan Quinn said there is no doubt that Jones will play in the NFC championship game against the Packers this Sunday.
“We will limit him throughout the week, then as the week progresses give him a little more at the end,” Quinn said Monday. “He’s excited to play but we will make sure he gets the (practice) looks that are real specific to him. But for him and his foot, he will be ready to rock.”
Jones had six catches for 67 yards with a TD in the NFC divisional playoff victory against the Seahawks. Jones was in and out of the game several times before heading to the locker room for good during the fourth quarter.
Jones played the final two games of the regular season after missing two games because of a sprained left toe but hadn’t regained his form. In victories over the Panthers and Saints Jones didn’t appear to have his usual explosiveness and periodically took himself out of the games.
Jones has dealt with various nagging lower-body injuries through the years. He has said such issues are common because he’s such an explosive athlete with lots of “fast twitch” muscle fiber but that he’s usually able to play through them.
“I think that helps actually when you have had some opportunities to play through injuries,” Quinn said. “’I know what this feels like, I know I can explode and move on it.’”
Quinn said the biggest challenge with handling Jones is finding the right amount of practice reps to allow him to get in sync with quarterback Matt Ryan without aggravating his foot.