Banged-up Falcons try to get healthier

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- When the Atlanta Falcons' offensive linemen emerged from meetings Monday afternoon, tackles Sam Baker and Lamar Holmes limped in unison on their way out the door.

Holmes, wearing a black protective sleeve on his left leg, actually looked a bit more hobbled than Baker, although it was Baker who exited Sunday’s game against the Patriots prematurely after sustaining another knee injury. He played 22 snaps before being replaced by Holmes.

The fact that Baker walked under his own power and without the use of crutches could be a positive sign, although head coach Mike Smith declined to give any status updates until Thursday’s injury report is released. The Falcons host the Jets on ESPN "Monday Night Football"

Baker returned to the starting lineup Sunday after missing Week 3 with knee and foot injuries then went down again. It is unclear when Holmes might have gotten banged up.

Although both players have had their struggles, the Falcons would be in a bind if both are ailing come Monday. Jeremy Trueblood seems to have settled in at right tackle, and the next player in the tackle rotation is rookie free-agent pickup Ryan Schraeder from Valdosta State.

Mike Johnson was spotted at the facility Monday, but the offensive lineman cannot help his team now. The projected starting right tackle suffered a season-ending broken left leg and dislocated left ankle back in August.

Smith said the offensive line played its best game of the season Sunday in terms of protection. In order to keep improving as a unit, the line has to stay healthy.

The linebacker position also has been hit with a rash of injuries. Akeem Dent suffered an ankle injury against the Patriots, while Paul Worrilow, who supplanted Stephen Nicholas in the starting lineup Sunday, sustained a knee injury. Worrilow seemed OK walking around the locker room Monday while Dent was nowhere to be seen. The Falcons already lost starting linebacker Sean Weatherspoon until at least Week 11 with a foot injury. Weatherspoon was placed on injured reserve with a designation to return.

Other injuries to monitor include wide receiver Roddy White's continued recovery from a high-ankle sprain, running back Steven Jackson's progression from a hamstring injury, and cornerback Asante Samuel's bout with a nagging thigh issue.

Update: During the open period of Tuesday's practice, Jackson was in shorts, huddled with the trainers on a side field. He did not have a helmet. Julio Jones (knee), Worrilow, and Samuel were without helmets, too, while White, Baker, and Dent were nowhere to be seen.