Julio Jones, Falcons work through injuries

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- Teams are expected to have bumps and bruises six games into the season, and it's no different for the Atlanta Falcons.

Several players continue to gut through injuries in preparation for Sunday's game at Baltimore. The most notable are receiver Julio Jones and rookie left tackle Jake Matthews.

Jones was spotted slowly dragging his left foot as he exited the locker room on Monday afternoon. His left ankle has given him issues ever since the Minnesota game, and it is typically rather painful for him to deal with early in the week. Jones has shown up on the injury report as "limited" in practice the past few weeks due to his ankle, but is hasn't kept him out of any game action. In fact, he played 51 of 56 offensive snaps in Sunday's 27-13 loss to the Chicago Bears. And Jones continues to display his speed and explosion despite the ankle.

Fortunately for Jones, it is not the same right foot he had surgically repaired twice. He simply continues to get treatment on the ankle. And he actually moved around better Monday night as he attended teammate Harry Douglas' charity bowling event for The Douglas Brothers Foundation.

As for Matthews, he suffered a left high ankle sprain in the season opener against New Orleans and missed just one game. Matthews said he tweaked the ankle again during a Week 5 loss to the New York Giants.

It obviously has affected his play. Matthews had a tough time against Jason Pierre-Paul in New York, then gave up two sacks against the Bears as the offensive line, as a whole, wore down and struggled to protect Matt Ryan.

"Jake has done a very good job of dealing with that ankle all through this season," coach Mike Smith said. "I'm not going to say that it's affecting his play. I think that he's toughing it out in practice and in the games."

Also, rookie linebacker Prince Shembo did not play any defensive snaps against Chicago due to a knee injury. Shembo did play 12 snaps on special teams, but it wasn't the same stress he would have put on the knee had he played defense.

"Prince Shembo was limited in practice early in the week," Smith said. "Did not practice very much. And we felt like [Joplo] Bartu had taken the majority of the reps. And the way that Shembo was moving around, we thought it was in our best interest for [Bartu] to play in the game."

The Falcons need to get their receivers fully healthy. Besides Jones, Douglas remains sidelined with a deep bruise in his left foot with no timetable given for his return. Drew Davis, who had preseason foot surgery, was back on the field catching passes last week and is eligible to return to practice this week off the physically unable to perform list. But Smith wouldn't reveal Davis' status just yet. And Devin Hester had been dealing with a hamstring issue, although he played 29 of 56 offensive snaps and 11 special teams snaps against the Bears.