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Falcons RB Devonta Freeman expected to miss 2-3 weeks with knee contusion

Devonta Freeman, Falcons

Atlanta Falcons running back Devonta Freeman won’t be available for their Week 2 matchup against the Carolina Panthers due to a knee contusion. As it turns out, it’s just the start what is expected to be an extended injury layoff.

According to Adam Schefter of ESPN, Freeman is expected to be sidelined for 2-3 weeks due to the knee injury.

After the Panthers, the Falcons’ next three games are at home against the New Orleans Saints and Cincinnati Bengals, and at the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Freeman had 36 rushing yards on six carries as well as three catches for 14 yards in the Falcons’ 18-12 season-opening loss to the Philadelphia Eagles last Thursday.

The two-time Pro Bowler saw his streak of consecutive 1,000-yard rushing seasons snapped at two as he finished with just 865 yards last year. He missed two games later in the season due to a significant injury his right knee, which is the same knee that’s currently injured. Luckily, there is no structural damage this time around, according to Falcons coach Dan Quinn.

With Freeman out, Tevin Coleman will get the start at running back with fourth-round pick Ito Smith backing him up. Coleman had nine carries for 19 yards with a touchdown in the Falcons’ loss to the Eagles last week.

After the Falcons offense relied so heavily on Julio Jones (10 catches, 169 yards) against the Eagles, they’ll have to find a way to get their other playmakers involved even in Freeman’s absence.