Flowers Branch, Georgia – Atlanta Falcons tight end Kyle Bates And a defensive line Taquin Graham “He will be out, at least in the short term, for sure,” coach Arthur Smith said on Monday.
A source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter that surgery is “likely” for Bates’ MCL injury, but Smith said nothing has been confirmed yet as they are still seeing doctors and receiving opinions on the potential tear and its severity.
“I’m not a doctor, but MCL sprains, that’s what usually happens – there are varying degrees and where they are in the knee,” said Smith. “I’ll let the medical experts handle it.”
Bates injured his knee in the third quarter on Sunday against Chicago at the end of the catch-and-run game when Eddie Jackson I tackled it just above the knee. Bates was on the ground at first and then sprinted off the field. Then, he went into the blue medical tent for a short while before slowly walking towards the locker room.
Smith said no decisions have been made yet on whether to place Bates or Graham on injured reserve. Smith said Bates, the fourth overall in the 2021 NFL Draft, has been playing “a lot” this season, including a hamstring injury that forced him to miss Atlanta’s Week 5 game against Tampa Bay.
“He’s been a huge influence on this team,” said Smith. “I know the numbers aren’t as flashy as they were like a rookie and he plays a lot, and he’s a tough guy with a lot of impact.”
Coming off a 1,000-yard rookie season as a tight end—the second 1,000-yard season for a rookie tight end in NFL history—Bates ended up playing on a different offense that required him to do different things.
He’s become more of a complete player in his position, focused specifically on improving his blocking in the offseason, and Smith has said several times that he’s happy with what Bates has done in 2022. Bates has 28 passes for 356 yards and two touchdowns this season, just off the pace of 68 catches , 1,026 yards and one touchdown he had as a junior.
Smith referred to the plays Bates made overseas last year compared to times this season where he couldn’t open up as quickly as part of what he was referring to when he was talking about what Bates was playing in 2022.
But he made it clear how big a part the Atlanta Petes offense is.
“People just look at the stats, and his impact on winning was huge for us,” said Smith. “There are definitely times when we’re not in sync and the way we play at times where you have to sacrifice some passing numbers.
“The guy is a great teammate. He doesn’t mess around like a lot of the guys with that much hype because he’s a real person and that’s why we love him. He’s a real teammate, the future is really bright for him and that’s why we’re so excited to have him in this organisation.”
Falcons can look at a combination of narrow limbs Parker HessAnd the Mikul PruittAnd the Anthony Firkers And the Felipe Frankswho was dealing with a calf injury, to replace Bates, who did with Atlanta during his exit.
Graham, who has started nine of 11 games this season alongside the Falcons Grady JarrettHe has 34 tackles, eight quarterback hits, and a fumble recovery so far this season.
“Basically, the way he handles the blocks, the little things, the important technical things in the running game,” Smith said earlier in the season of Graham’s influence. “Not turning, not guessing, that’s what he’s down to – the leverage, the fundamentals, the ability to play combination blocks well. He does it really well.”
Graham was carted off the field in the second quarter on Sunday.
Hawks are likely to be looking for a combination of Galen DaltonAnd the Timmy HornAnd the Abdullah Anderson And the Matt Dickerson To replace Graham, however long his absence. Atlanta faces Washington on Sunday.
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