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Practice report: Akeem Dent returns to field

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- Atlanta Falcons linebacker Akeem Dent, who had been sidelined with an ankle injury suffered in Week 4 against the New England Patriots, was back on the practice field with a helmet on Thursday.

Dent had been in a walking boot following the injury, but he ran around the locker room without issue prior to practice. It is possible he could return to his role as the starting middle linebacker Sunday against Tampa Bay. Omar Gaither started the last game in place of Dent, but Gaither didn't sound like he was preparing to start this week.

Also at practice, running back Steven Jackson again came to the field as an observer while continuing to nurse a hamstring injury. It doesn't look like Jackson will play Sunday.

Left tackle Sam Baker (knee) and tight end Chase Coffmann (knee) were without practice gear, while receiver Roddy White (hamstring, knee) was nowhere to be seen.

The Falcons practiced outdoors in the rain to get accustomed to upcoming outdoor games against Carolina (Nov. 3), Tampa Bay (Nov. 17) and Green Bay (Dec. 8).