FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. — Atlanta Falcons coach Arthur Smith said rookie receiver Drake London will “probably not” be available during practices this week, including the joint practices against the New York Jets this coming weekend.
London suffered a right knee injury during the first quarter of Friday night’s 27-24 preseason-opening win over the Detroit Lions — but said Sunday he does not believe it is something they are concerned about long term.
“We got different guys on different return-to-play plans,” Smith said. “Nothing that we’re really concerned about long term. We’ll be smart. He’s had a really good training camp and like the rest of these guys, some guys we held out today, we’re hoping to get everybody back, healthy and ready to roll when the regular season rolls around.”
London was injured after catching a 24-yard pass on the team’s first drive. He then jogged to the sideline, had his knee looked at and went into the blue medical tent. He remained on the sideline after being ruled out — in the first half in uniform and in the second half in street clothes.
Smith wouldn’t commit to London returning this preseason, either. The Falcons play the Jets on Aug. 22, have joint practices a few days later and then a game with the Jacksonville Jaguars on Aug. 27.
“We’ll see. We’ll assess it week-to-week and we’ll make the best decision,” Smith said. “He’s had a really good camp. He got his feet wet and I’m pleased with him. But like all our guys, the No. 1 decision we make is that the health and safety of the player and how it affects him and the team and that’s where we start.”
Atlanta opens its season at home against New Orleans on Sept. 11.