Last week, Ian Rapoport reported that Austin Hooper will miss “around a month” with an MCL sprain, which he was diagnosed with following the Falcons win over the Saints almost two weeks ago. Atlanta has already ruled him OUT against the Buccaneers this Sunday, but ESPN’s Vaughn Mcclure believes it might not be long before we see Hooper back on the field.
Austin Hooper (MCL) won’t play vs. Bucs but wouldn’t be surprised if he’s out trying to run a little bit on Thursday. Dan Quinn already said both Hooper and Devonta Freeman (foot) wouldn’t practice Wednesday although both were trending up. I could see Hooper playing vs. Saints.
— vaughn mcclure (@vxmcclure23) November 20, 2019
From Mcclure’s words, it looks like Hooper is progressing better than expected. Often, minor MCL sprains only take a couple of weeks to heal. The Falcons host the Saints on Thanksgiving – in a game that will have more implications than most would have thought a few weeks ago. Atlanta still has the off-chance of making the playoffs, and New Orleans will be looking to wrap up the division while exacting revenge. Plus, it will be on the national stage on perhaps the most essential football-watching day of the year.
Hooper isn’t going to want to miss that.
To say the Falcons fourth-year tight end was amid a career year before injuring his knee would be an understatement. Hooper was the best tight end in football through eight weeks and is still on pace to demolish all of his single-season receiving records. He’s already set a career-mark for touchdowns with six of them on the year.
Devonta Freeman is also unlikely to play on Sunday against the Bucs with a foot sprain. It’s unknown if he might be available the following week. While Atlanta was able to hand New Orleans their second loss of the season with ease less than two weeks ago, they are going to need all hands on deck to do it again on Thanksgiving. They won’t catch the Saints sleeping this time around.