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D. Orlando Ledbetter

Julio Jones is running, ahead of schedule

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Atlanta Falcons, Julio Jones, injuries

Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones injured his foot in Oct. 7, 2013, loss to the New York Jets at the Georgia Dome. (Curtis Compton / AJC)

Falcons coach Mike Smith said wide receiver Julio Jones is running and is ahead of schedule at the owner’s meeting in Orlando today, the team said.

“He’s doing a great job with (trainers) Marty (Lauzon) and AJ (Neibel),” Falcons coach Mike Smith told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution by phone on Wednesday. “He’s continuing to progress.”

What’s his timetable for a full return?

“That’s a decision that’s going to be made by the doctors who did the procedure on his return to play,” Smith said. “I know that he’ll get out there as soon as the doctors give him the OK. But he’s progressing very well through his rehab. The return to play is strictly going to be a decision that’s going to be made by the medical staff. I fully anticipate that long-term he’s going to be ready to go.”

Jones, who had foot surgery in October, has been off crutches since December.

Also, defensive end/linebacker Kroy Biermann, who suffered a torn Achilles tendon, is also ahead of schedule.

“Kroy has started his on the field work,” Smith said. “We’re excited about his progress to this point. I don’t know if there’s anybody that’s worked harder than both of those guys. Mid-season and this offseason. Kroy and Julio have an opportunity to work during the season. They’ve been doing well. Kroy has been running on the field. When I say running, I mean he’s working on the field. So that’s a positive.”

(We’ll have a full medical update from Coach Smith up later on MyAJC.com.)

Here ‘s some of the story from Tuesday Oct. 8 after Jones suffered the original injury:

FLOWERY BRANCH — The Falcons’ Julio Jones, the team’s most consistent deep threat who has been developing into one of the best receivers in the NFL, has a right foot injury that may end his season, team officials have told AJC Falcons writer D. Orlando Ledbetter.

Jones will be evaluated Wednesday with the hope that the diagnosis will be more optimistic.

“Julio injured his foot last night,” Falcons coach Mike Smith said on Monday. “He saw our doctors this morning. He is going to have a second opinion over in Charlotte tomorrow. The first reports were not encouraging. But we will wait to see what the second opinion comes back as.”

Although the original diagnosis was bleak, Smith was not ready to rule Jones out for the season.
“It would be premature at this point in time, yes it would,” Smith said. “Again, he’s going over to Charlotte for a second opinion tomorrow and when we have something more definitive, you guys will be the first to know.”

The injury is on the same foot that Jones injured at the NFL combine and had surgery on by Dr. Robert Anderson.

“Again, he injured his foot in the ball game last night and was able to complete the game,” Smith said.

“He had a test this morning and is going for a second opinion. But the first diagnosis was not very encouraging.”

 FALCONS REWIND

–Blog: Falcons are not switching to a 3-4 defense front, they’ve been using it for past 2 seasons

–Blog: New jersey numbers picked; Devin Hester to wear No. 17

–Blog: Falcons awarded three compensatory picks

–Blog: Lamar Holmes was a performance-pay leader in 2014

–Blog: Umenyiora will return in 2014, no restructured deal

–Blog: Falcons release FB Bradie Ewing

–Blog: Falcons WR Roddy White owes Mercer fan some prime tickets

–Blog: Falcons owner Arthur Blank engaged to be married.  

–Blog: Former Falcons WR Kevin Cone to work out for Carolina

–Blog: Falcons re-sign defensive tackle Peria Jerry

–Blog: NFL to move forward on cleaning up ‘on-field’ language

MEET THE FREE AGENT SIGNEES

–MyAJC ($): Falcons spend $80 million in free agency to buy toughness

–Las Vegas doesn’t like Falcons’ free agency moves

–Falcons Free Agency Tracker — Falcons have committed $107.36 million to salaries 

–Q&A with PR/KR/WR Devin Hester

–Q&A with Falcons right guard Jon Asamoah

–Q&A with Falcons defensive end Tyson Jackson

–Q&A with Falcons defensive tackle Paul Soliai

2014 NFL DRAFT CENTRAL

–Mock Draft 1.0: Falcons trade out of sixth spot to land Pryor and Ebron

–12 teams who could draft UGA star Aaron Murray

–Louisville LB Preston Brown to work out for the Falcons

–Louisville DE Marcus Smith to work out for the Falcons

–MyAJC ($): OT Greg Robinson, DE Dee Ford shine at Auburn’s Pro Day

–VIDEO: Tackle Greg Robinson on Auburn’s Pro Day

–VIDEO: Running back Tra Mason on Auburn’s Pro Day

–Blog & VIDEO: Clemson QB Tajh Boyd has stellar Pro Day showing

–VIDEO: Clemson WR Sammy Watkins on his Pro Day

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