Crumpler has knee surgery; expected back for camp

ATLANTA -- For the second time in two years, Atlanta Falcons star tight end Alge Crumpler has undergone offseason surgery that will force him to miss some time in the team's conditioning program.

Alge Crumpler Crumpler

The team announced Tuesday that Crumpler, a four-time Pro Bowl performer and the club's most consistent receiver for much of his six-year career, underwent arthroscopic surgery last Friday to clean debris from his left knee. Crumpler has been forced to contend with swelling and pain in the left knee for the past two seasons.

Last summer, Crumpler had offseason surgery on his left shoulder, and Falcons officials came under fire when they did not divulge the procedure until just before training camp.

Given the timing of the knee surgery, Crumpler was not able to participate in Tuesday's initial mandatory minicamp workout under first-year head coach Bobby Petrino and almost certainly will miss all three days of the session. There is no timetable yet for his return to the field, but it is believed Crumpler will be recovered well in advance of training camp.

Crumpler, 29, has been named to the NFC Pro Bowl squad in each of the last four years and has led the Falcons in receptions for three straight seasons. The former North Carolina star, a second-round pick in 2001, had 56 catches for 780 yards and eight touchdowns in 2006, and is clearly the receiver quarterback Michael Vick trusts the most.

In 94 career games, including 83 starts, Crumpler has 274 receptions for 3,768 yards and 30 touchdowns. Despite being slowed at times by injuries and at times being forced to curtail his practice time, the durable Crumpler has missed only two games in six seasons.

The other tight ends on the roster are Dwayne Blakley, Daniel Fells and Eric Beverly.

In an unrelated development, defensive end Grady Jackson, who is suing the Falcons for defamation and invasion of privacy claiming that club officials leaked to some media outlets reports that he had failed a physical exam, was not on hand for Tuesday's practice. Jackson, who is under contract but would like to have his deal upgraded after a strong 2006 season in which he had 33 tackles, can be fined for his absence.

Len Pasquarelli is a senior writer for ESPN.com.