Atlanta Falcons RB Steven Jackson was able to practice in some capacity all week this week and is expected to make his triumphant return to the lineup this Sunday. Jackson has been out for weeks with a quadriceps muscle strain. Jackson is officially listed on probable on the Falcons’ official injury report after putting in a full day of practice on Friday.
Injury Outlook: Jackson appears to be ready to return to the lineup, which means he must have been able to show sufficient power and drive with his between-tackle-runs, which was supposed to have been the main deterrent to his return. As with any muscle injury, the risk for re-injury is always there. But the fact that he was able to do everything at practice without any reported setbacks definitely serves to increase optimism about his potential productivity level.
Jackson and Jacquizz Rodgers, who filled in admirably while Jackson was out, will most likely split carries in an effort to both keep Rodgers involved and preserve Jackson’s health for the rest of the season by not overworking his already beat up muscles. Expect Jackson to return to roughly 12-16 touches in Sunday’s game with a relative easing back into the lineup.
Keep in mind that Jackson has a lot of mileage on those legs and is nearing 30 years old, which is where running backs essentially go to die. The Faclons will have to be in the business of prevention with Jackson at this point and having a capable backup like Rodgers gives them the luxury of doing so. If Jackson is able to rush for 100+ yards or gets in the end zone 1-2 times, it may not be a terrible idea to sell high on him and find a buyer out there who buys into his reincarnation. At Jackson’s age and considering what type of injury he’s dealing with, that may be the smartest thing you do all season.