FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones was limited again Wednesday coming off an ankle injury, but Jones appeared to show improvement in regard to running his routes and making sharp cuts.
Falcons coach Dan Quinn initially thought Jones would return to full practice Wednesday. Instead, the timetable was pushed back, with Jones now expected to have full participation on Thursday.
Jones injured his ankle in the third preseason game against Miami, Aug. 25. He was held off the practice field during the week immediately after the injury, although Quinn said from the beginning he expected Jones to be well enough to play in Sunday's season opener against Tampa Bay at the Georgia Dome.
Jones was one four Falcons limited Wednesday along with strong safety Kemal Ishmael (shoulder), running back Terron Ward (ankle), and defensive end Adrian Clayborn, while free safety Robenson Therezie (hand) had full participation.
Veteran defensive end Dwight Freeney did nothing more than stretch before practice as he was given the day off for a reason the team said was non-injury related. The only other player held out was rookie strong safety Keanu Neal, who is set to miss the opener after undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his right knee. Ishmael is expected to replace Neal in the starting lineup.
Meanwhile for Tampa Bay, tight end Luke Stocker was the only player held out of practice with a back injury. Linebacker Devante Bond (hamstring) was limited, while safety Ryan Smith (hand) had full participation.