Falcons just want Roddy White game ready

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- Although Atlanta Falcons receiver Roddy White missed Tuesday's practice with a hamstring injury, coach Mike Smith sounded more concerned with having White rested for Thursday night's quick turnaround game versus Tampa Bay.

White, already dealing with a troublesome left knee, injured his hamstring during Sunday's 24-10 loss at Cincinnati. He indicated he was "good'" following the game.

"It's not important for Roddy to practice,'' Smith said. "We'd like for Roddy to practice, but it's all about getting Roddy ready on a short week. And some of these guys across the league that have some age with them, on a short week, you've got to get them to Thursday. And that's our intention.

"Right now, our goal is to have Roddy as healthy as he can be for the ball game on Thursday night.''

Smith indicated White, 32, would be on a limited schedule moving forward after injuring his left knee in a season-opening win over New Orleans. It is unclear when White injured his hamstring against the Bengals.

White played in 133 consecutive games before missing three games last season with a high ankle sprain and hamstring pull. He seems likely to gut it out if his latest hamstring injury isn't as serious as last year's.

In other injury news, rookie tackle Jake Matthews was a full participant in Tuesday's practice coming off an ankle sprain. Matthews expects to play against the Buccaneers but realizes it's up to the coaches.

Smith sounded optimistic about Matthews' status.

"It was great to have Jake back out to practice today,'' Smith said. "It was good to get him back into the starting lineup. We're pleased with the progress that he's made with the athletic guys in terms of what they've been doing with him. And we've been able to basically go through a full practice with him today.''

Smith stopped short of declaring Matthews good to go for Thursday.

"Anything can happen, but we were really pleased with what he was able to do last night and in practice today,'' Smith said.

If Matthews returns, it wouldn't be a surprise to see Gabe Carimi at right tackle ahead of Lamar Holmes. Carimi has been at left tackle with Matthews out of the lineup.

Wide receiver Julio Jones (ankle) and linebacker Prince Shembo (knee) participated in Tuesday's practice.

The Falcons have an abbreviated walk-through on Wednesday.