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Vaughn McClure, ESPN Staff Writer 35d

Falcons' McGary set for more tests on hurt knee

NFL, Atlanta Falcons

ATLANTA -- Atlanta Falcons rookie right tackle Kaleb McGary, the second of the team's two 2019 first-round NFL draft picks, left Sunday night's game against the Philadelphia Eagles in the first half because of a knee injury.

McGary, the 31st overall pick in April's draft, didn't appear to put any pressure on his left leg as he was helped to the sideline by two members of the athletic performance staff. The injury occurred with 8 minutes, 10 seconds left in the second quarter.

McGary was replaced by veteran Ty Sambrailo before returning in the fourth quarter of Atlanta's 24-20 win. McGary said after the game that initial tests revealed no major structural damage, but that he would undergo further testing Monday morning. 

McGary's status is significant because the Falcons' other first-round draft pick, right guard Chris Lindstrom, broke his foot in a season-opening loss to the Minnesota Vikings. Lindstrom, the 14th overall pick, had successful surgery and will be in a walking boot for at least eight weeks. There is a chance Lindstrom could return after being put on injured reserve, but he wouldn't be able to play in a game until Week 10 against New Orleans.

The Falcons view McGary and Lindstrom as integral parts of the line for years to come while playing together on the right side. McGary's progress ran into an obstacle when he was sidelined three weeks following a minor heart procedure similar to those he has had in the past. It resulted in McGary's playing only one preseason game and then rotating with Sambrailo during the opener against the Vikings.

The Falcons replaced Lindstrom with veteran Jamon Brown. Matt Gono seems to get more of an opportunity at right tackle ahead of Sambrailo, but Gono has missed the first two games because of a back injury.

The offensive line was a big concern for the Falcons coming into the season, which is why they invested two first-round picks in Lindstrom and McGary, and also signed James Carpenter and Brown as guards in free agency.

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