Ito Smith hits IR with knee injury

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The already extensive injured-reserve list added another name as Ito Smith was placed on IR following Sunday’s game with a knee injury, per Kelsey Conway.

Conway also tweeted that the injury was not an ACL injury, but a minor procedure on the same knee that kept Smith limited in practice leading up to the game versus the Cardinals.

With Devonta Freeman hitting IR earlier in the season, Smith was thrusted into a more important role than anybody in the Falcons organization expected after being drafted in the fourth-round out of Southern Mississippi. Fortunately, he’s been able to hit the ground running in his transition to the NFL. At times, he had looked like the best back on the roster.

In fourteen games, Smith carried the ball 90 times for 315 yards and 4 touchdowns. His dual-threat capabilities as a receiver were also a plus, catching 27 balls on 32 targets for 152 yards.

With Tevin Coleman likely heading for free agency, Smith appears to be in line to assume the backup duties behind Devonta Freeman next season. His success this year makes it much easier to part with a quality back like Coleman, who has been an integral part to the Falcons high-powered offense over his four years with the team.

In Smith’s absence, Brian Hill, a 2017 5th-round pick out of Wyoming, is next in line for an increased workload. Despite being drafted by the Falcons, he spent the majority of last year as a backup for the Cincinnati Bengals. Hill signed with the Falcons practice squad prior to the start of the season.

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