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UPDATE 6:23 p.m.: Falcons head coach Mike Smith has ruled out Steven Jackson for Week 3, but offered no further specifics about the nature of the injury. According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Smith stated, "it's short term. Don't know if that's two or three weeks."
UPDATE 2:41 p.m.: NFL.com has reported that Steven Jackson may be out for two to four weeks, though the team has classified him as "week to week."
When Atlanta Falcons running back Steven Jackson is on the field, he exudes strength, power and hard-driving running. The key words here are "when Jackson is on the field."
Unfortunately, a "thigh" injury, as the Falcons termed it, forced Jackson off the field in the first quarter of Sunday's game, limiting him to three carries and one reception. The reception happened to be for a touchdown, making his brief appearance more valuable, but this risk is likely to be part of the ongoing concern with Jackson. As ESPN's Mike Sando notes in his Insider column, Jackson "has now appeared on an injury report no later than Week 3 in each of the past three seasons."
Jackson's ailments have tended to be of the soft tissue variety -- quadriceps, groin, hip flexor -- but nothing has been severe enough to sideline him for long. Despite his frequent appearance on the injury reports, Jackson has played in all 16 games twice over the past four seasons and has missed only one game in each of the other two campaigns. He is not an athlete who shies away from playing through discomfort, although it has limited his effectiveness at times (e.g., in 2009, when he was playing with a herniated disc in his lower back).
Still, he has managed to put up more than 1,000 yards rushing for each of the past eight seasons, including 2008, when he played in only 11 games. The difference now is that Jackson is 30 years old, and, although he maintains a remarkable fitness level, the years of play and the accumulation of various soft tissue injuries has to be considered.
As for the immediacy of this latest thigh injury, there has been no update from the Falcons thus far, but here's hoping that will change Wednesday when the first practice reports come out.
UPDATE 6:23 p.m.: Falcons head coach Mike Smith has ruled out Steven Jackson for Week 3, but offered no further specifics about the nature of the injury.