Falcons running back Tevin Coleman has concussion

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- Atlanta Falcons coach Dan Quinn said that running back Tevin Coleman has a concussion and is in the protocol after exiting Thursday night's win over the New Orleans Saints late in the fourth quarter.

Coleman is the sixth Falcon to sustain a concussion during the 2017 regular season, joining fellow running back Devonta Freeman, cornerback Desmond Trufant, safety Ricardo Allen, right tackle Ryan Schraeder and linebacker Jordan Tripp. Each missed at least one game, with Freeman and Schraeder both missing a pair of games. Tripp was placed on injured reserve.

Quinn doesn't speculate on timetables for players coming off of concussions or any other injury. The Falcons won't play again until their Monday night matchup with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Dec. 18, which gives Coleman extra time to recover.

"He had a concussion, and he's in the concussion protocol, and we'll just let the medical staff and the doctors do their thing," Quinn said. "Until we know when he's cleared, we'll go through the whole process with him."

If Coleman, who leads the team with seven combined touchdowns, is unable to return to face the Buccaneers, the Falcons would elevate Terron Ward into the backup role behind Freeman.

The two-time Pro Bowler Freeman continues to impress coming off his third concussion since November 2015. He ran for 91 yards on 24 carries and scored a touchdown against the Saints. Freeman vowed not to change his rugged style due to the concussions, and he hasn't. He currently leads the Falcons with 680 rushing yards and six rushing touchdowns on 152 carries.

"I never worried about Freeman not being himself," Quinn said. "We were going to make sure we gave him all the time he needed for his injury to get better, and that's what we did. We'll always side with the guys and make sure they're at their very best."

The 8-5 Falcons need a healthy Freeman and Coleman as they make their playoff push with three games remaining. They currently sit seventh in the NFC standings, one spot behind Carolina (8-4) for the final wild-card berth.