Devonta Freeman has cleared the league’s concussion protocol and will return to Falcons practice on Wednesday, head coach Dan Quinn told 92.9 The Game, per D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Freeman was injured on the second play of Atlanta’s game against the Cowboys in Week 10, and the veteran running back has since missed two additional games as he deals with this second concussion of the season. Fellow running back Tevin Coleman has dominated backfield touches with Freeman sidelined, but Freeman figures to take on the majority of carries from here on out.
Here’s more on injuries from around the NFL:
- Like Freeman, Cowboys guard Zack Martin has also cleared the NFL concussion protocol and is on track to play when Dallas faces Washington on Thursday night, reports Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk. Martin played only 20 offensive snaps in what was an eventual loss to the Chargers on Thanksgiving before leaving the contest with a brain injury, forcing the Cowboys to turn to backup Joe Looney to man right guard. One of the league’s best offensive lineman, Martin will attempt to help Dallas win out (essentially a requirement if the club hopes to earn a postseason berth).
- The Colts will be without cornerback Rashaan Melvin after he suffered a “significant” hand injury, head coach Chuck Pagano told reporters, including Mike Chappell of FOX59 (Twitter link). While Indianapolis’ defense ranks 23rd in DVOA, Melvin has been one the team’s bright spots. A career reserve, the 28-year-old Melvin has started 10 games for the Colts this season while ranking as the NFL’s No. 14 corner, per Pro Football Focus. He’s scheduled to hit unrestricted free agency next spring. Tight end Erik Swoope, meanwhile, won’t return from IR this season although Indy originally believed he would do so, per Chappell (Twitter link).
- Domata Peko‘s start streak is expected to end at 123 games, as the Broncos defensive tackle has a second degree MCL sprain that will cause him to miss time, tweets Mike Klis of 9News. Peko, 33, looked to be nearing the end of his career with the Bengals last season, but he’s rebounded in Denver. The mammoth interior defender has been outstanding against the run, helping the Broncos to a No. 1 overall ranking in run defense DVOA.
- The Giants have designated defensive end Romeo Okwara to return from injured reserve, according to veteran NFL reporter Howard Balzer (Twitter link). The 22-year-old started four games as a rookie in 2016, and had played 78 defensive snaps this year before going down with a sprained MCL. Okwara will likely contribute on special teams when he returns to game action.