Falcons RB Freeman (knee) ruled out

The Sports Xchange

September 14, 2018 at 12:38 pm.

Atlanta Falcons running back Devonta Freeman will miss Sunday’s game against the Carolina Panthers because of a knee injury, head coach Dan Quinn told reporters on Friday.

Freeman injured his right knee last week in the Falcons’ season-opening loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. He had six carries for 36 yards and three catches for 14 yards against the Eagles before sustaining the injury.

However, Quinn also told reporters that Freeman, who did not practice on Wednesday or Thursday, does not have any structural damage in the knee and there is hope that the injury will not be a long-term problem.

Freeman has played in 14-plus regular-season games in each of his first four seasons in the NFL, appearing in all 16 games twice after being selected in the fourth round (103rd overall) out of Florida State by the Falcons in the 2014 draft. After he put 1,000-yard seasons back-to-back, he rushed 865 and seven touchdowns in 14 games last year.

The 26-year-old Freeman, twice selected to the Pro Bowl, signed a five-year, $41.25-million contract extension in August 2017.

Without Freeman, versatile Tevin Coleman is expected to start for the Falcons and play a featured role. Coleman has a different running style than Freeman, who is a physical ball carrier who makes the tough yards between the tackles.

Backing up Coleman will be Ito Smith and Brian Hill, who was added to the roster from the practice squad earlier in the week, for Sunday’s game.