FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- All-Pro wide receiver Julio Jones looked ready to break into a full sprint, while one-time Pro Bowl cornerback Desmond Trufant looked ready to be back in uniform for the first time since November.
There were signs of progress for the injured Atlanta Falcons' stars as the team continued OTAs Tuesday. Jones, who had surgery in March to remove a bunion from his left foot, didn't practice but completed a series of sprints from the 20-yard line on a side field.
"It's a jog," Jones insisted. "Sprinting is a little faster. ... Nah, it was good just to be back out on the grass and just testing it out. I felt great. Just working my way into it; just easing into it."
Jones remains on pace to return for training camp and doesn't plan to push it, even with teammates such as Trufant (pectoral surgery), defensive lineman Derrick Shelby (Achilles), and linebacker Kemal Ishmael (shoulder) back on the field in helmets Tuesday -- sooner than initially anticipated. Coach Dan Quinn hinted at a return for Trufant and the others.
"It felt good just to be back out there with the guys," said Trufant, who was limited. "It's been awhile. Got hurt in November, so it’s been some time. ... But just getting out there, getting some footwork in, just going through the routine again, it feels good."
A typical day of rehab for Jones involves getting to the facility at 7 a.m. and getting warmed up for an hour. From there, he goes through stability and balance training. Then he'll stretch and run.
"We're just gradually getting back," Jones said. "I'm not trying to press anything. Got some time."
In reflecting on the surgery, Jones was asked how much hesitation there was on his part considering he had multiple surgeries to repair foot fractures in the past. Noted foot surgeon Dr. Robert Anderson performed the procedures on Jones. The latest surgery called for four to five months of recovery, according to the team.
"Me? I just pray," Jones said. "And everything else will take care of itself. Yeah, I've had foot injuries before. This time it was my toe. I kind of got the formula, because I had two foot surgeries in the past. But just taking your time. Don't rush anything.
"Obviously I want to be back out here right now. I understand, too -- and they understand -- it's a process."
Jones reiterated that he feels "great" and expects to be at full speed for training camp.
"We're just taking our time," he said. "Training camp comes, we'll definitely be rolling. But as of right now, it's just one day at a time."
Defensive end Adrian Clayborn (biceps) and wide receiver Taylor Gabriel (undisclosed) remained sidelined at practice alongside Jones. Tight end D.J. Tialavea and undrafted rookie linebacker Christian Tago also were held out of practice. Tago's injury likely led to the Falcons signing undrafted linebacker Jack Lynn from Minnesota on Monday.