Reeling after their loss to the Carolina Panthers, the Atlanta Falcons may be without one of their top offensive stars in Week 15.
According to D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal Constitution, Falcons head coach Mike Smith said Thursday that wide receiver Roddy White will be a game-time decision for Sunday's game against the New York Giants due to a knee injury:
#Falcons WR Roddy White will be a game-time decision, according to coach Mike Smith.— D. Orlando Ledbetter (@AJCFalcons) December 13, 2012
UPDATE: Saturday, December 22 at 6:37 p.m. ET by Ian Hanford
According to SportsCenter's Twitter, White will play Saturday night versus the Detroit Lions:
Falcons WR Roddy White (knee) to play tonight vs. Lions, source tells ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) December 22, 2012
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UPDATE: Sunday, December 16 at 12:30 p.m. ET
The Falcons get a much-needed confidence boost heading into today's critical showdown against the Giants, as White was not listed on the team's inactive list.
Falcons Inactives: 4 QB D.Davis, 17 WR T.Toone, 25 S W.Moore, 68 G P.Manley, 69 G H.Gunn, 90 DE L.Sidbury, 86 TEC.Coffman #atlnyg12— Atlanta_Falcons (@Atlanta_Falcons) December 16, 2012
Given the way the Falcons got demolished by the Giants last January, they need any psychological boost they can get.
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UPDATE: Sunday, December 16 at 10:25 a.m. ET
Great news for Falcons fans and fantasy owners as it seems Roddy White (knee) will be good to go for Sunday's pivotal matchup against the Giants, according to ESPN's Rachel Nichols.
Just spoke to #Falcons Coach Mike Smith - told me "it looks good" when I asked about WR Roddy White (questionable/knee) playing today.— Rachel Nichols (@Rachel__Nichols) December 16, 2012
NFL's Kimberly Jones went on to report that White will play today.
Falcons WR Roddy White (knee) will play against NYG. He always does, hasn't missed a game in his 8-year career.— Kimberly Jones (@KimJonesSports) December 16, 2012
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UPDATE: Friday, December 14 at 12:50 p.m. ET by Matt Fitzgerald
Mike Garafolo of the USA Today has the latest on White's status for a key home matchup with the New York Giants:
Down here in Atlanta, WR Roddy White did not practice again. Listed as questionable.— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) December 14, 2012
The fact that White hasn't hit the practice field isn't a good sign, but he's due to be a game-time decision anyway. If any Falcon could miss the week of practice to rest, get healthy and perform well in a big game, White would have to be among the top candidates to do just that.
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White had missed practice earlier this week due to the injury, but it was initially considered minor. However, as the week has progressed, the receiver's status has worsened, and he is now a question mark heading into this clash of NFC division leaders.
If White is unable to go on Sunday, Atlanta's high-powered passing offense could be in trouble. Second-year star Julio Jones can certainly pick up some of the slack and Tony Gonzalez is always a red-zone threat, but the Falcons' true strength lies in their array of pass-catchers.
Among those stars, White has been the most reliable. Heading into Week 15, the 31-year-old receiver has 77 receptions for 1,140 yards and leads the team in targets (118) and catches leading to a first-down (62).
With a matchup against the Giants' 27th-ranked pass defense, it stood to reason that Matt Ryan would have his pick of the litter on every play. But if White is out, New York can scheme heavily against Jones downfield and Gonzalez underneath.
That would leave Harry Douglas or Drew Davis having a far more integral role in the offense than the Falcons would like.
Nonetheless, White hasn't been ruled out yet, so there's no need to press the panic button. Be sure to check back in as we give you up-to-the-minute updates on White's status for Sunday.