Falcons rookie De'Vondre Campbell (concussion) eager to return to action

"It hurt me last week to sit out," said De'Vondre Campbell, who expects to play Sunday. AP Photo/Todd Kirkland

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- Atlanta Falcons rookie linebacker De'Vondre Campbell, who missed last week's game against Carolina with a concussion, returned to practice Wednesday with eyes on playing in Sunday's regular-season finale against New Orleans.

Campbell was in a black limited jersey during the portion of practice open to the media.

"It hurt me last week to sit out, but it is what it is," Campbell said. "It's the way the league works nowadays. But I'm ready to get back on the field and get back out there with my brothers."

Falcons coach Dan Quinn said Campbell is "on the way up," without declaring him ready to face the Saints. Campbell also had a concussion during his freshman year of college at Minnesota.

"It was a lot more severe than this one," Campbell said. "I've been there before. I knew how to handle the situation.

"It was a just a freak accident. The brain is a sensitive part of your body. It was just one of those situations where I hit somebody with my head and it didn't go the way I wanted it to."

Campbell has been an integral part of a defense that has steadily improved throughout the season. Along with Campbell, the Falcons start three other rookies on defense in strong safety Keanu Neal, middle linebacker Deion Jones and nickel back Brian Poole.

In other injury news, the both tight end Austin Hooper and wide receiver Taylor Gabriel did some light drills on the side but did not participate in Wednesday's practice. According to ESPN's Adam Caplan, Hooper is recovering from an MCL sprain in his left knee.

Gabriel's injury was not disclosed, although he was limited by a shoulder injury last week.