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Roddy: Turner is a Warrior. Will Play Sunday.


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FLOWERY BRANCH With Michael Turner's availability unknown, the Falcons will continue to shuffle their cards at running back.

.With Turner facing possible downtime with a high right ankle sprain, the Falcons are ready to welcome back his backup, Jerious Norwood, who's missed the last four games with a right hip flexor, coach Mike Smith said on Monday.

Turner underwent a battery of tests on Monday and the team was guarded about the results. The team is not required to release an official report on his status until Wednesday, but high ankle sprains usually take four to six weeks to heal.

Earlier in his career, Turner recovered from one much sooner that expected. Not that the team wanted to discuss it.

"We're not going to give a competitive advantage to our next opponent on Monday afternoon," Smith said.

But the coach did say that the injury was not a season-ending one.

"I'm very confident that Michael Turner will play in 2009," Smith said.

Late Monday, the Falcons re-signed running back Aaron Stecker, who was released by the team on Saturday. The team released recenlty added wide receiver Troy Bergeron to make room on the roster.

Stecker has 383 carries for 1,517 yards and eight touchdowns in 10 NFL season.

Regardless, some teammates are holding out hope that Turner will try to play against the New York Giants on Sunday.

"Mike is a warrior," wide receiver Roddy White said. "Mike is playing. He's playing on Sunday. You best believe it. Ignore the injury report."

Norwood, who has carried the ball only 19 times this season, is close to returning. He started running last week.

But timing is an issue. The Falcons (5-4) are heading into the most rugged stretch of their schedule with three of four games against playoff contenders: the N.Y. Giants, Philadelphia and New Orleans. Losing Turner for any games will be costly for the offense.

After a slow start, Turner had reached full stride, rushing for 428 yards over his last three games while averaging 9.1 yards per carry. He has 10 rushing touchdowns and was on pace to break the franchise record of 17 that he set last season.

Turner was injured Sunday on a 10-yard run in the second quarter when Carolina cornerback Chris Gamble crashed into his right leg on a low tackle.

"Afterward, he was moving around pretty good [in a boot]," Smith said. "We'll know more on Wednesday in terms of where he's going to be."

If Turner is unable to go against the Giants, Jason Snelling and Norwood would split his carries. Snelling had 18 carries for 61 yards against the Panthers.

"Definitely, I'm going to come in and prepare to do what I have to do, whatever the situation is," Snelling said. "I have to get ready. If Mike is out or whatever the situation is, I'll be ready to go."

While White is hopeful that Turner will play, he also knows the offense will look much different, especially in the red zone.

"We are going to miss the big guy on the goal line," White said. "He can punch it in real easy."

Turner rushed for 1,799 yards last season to help the Falcons reach the playoffs. He has 831 yards rushing on 165 carries this year.

"We need that guy," White said. "He's special. He's our MVP. As long as we've got him, the offense kind of rolls smoothly."

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I think Roddy is right. I think we will play the Turner card all week about he might not be back for a few weeks and he'll be ready for the Giants I think. It's just keeping the Giants on their toes.

Turner didn't look too hurt walking around, he'll be back

Edited by Dharma Initiative
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If he can play put him in. Nobody is 100% throughout the year. Now if it is something he could damage worse or still needs rest then sit him, but if he can play put him on the field. Wouldn't be the first time a team sand bagged on how bad a player was really hurt.

Remember he wasn't limping that bad when he was walking off the field. I'm hoping for the best case and that he can play. Turner on the field helps our chance of winning and I need more wins.

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I'd be shocked if Turner is ready to go this weekend. If not and we do get Jerious back then I believe that Norwood/Snelling in the backfield is nothing to scoff at. Those guys can be explosive and I love everything I see from Snelling. That guy might be the hardest working man on the field.

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