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Falcons' 1st-rounder McGary returns to practice


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Atlanta Falcons rookie offensive lineman Kaleb McGary, returning from a heart procedure, went through his first full practice Monday and could play in the team's final preseason game on Thursday night.

McGary, the No. 31 overall pick in the 2019 draft, mostly worked with the second team at right tackle early in camp before undergoing cardiac ablation on July 31, a procedure designed to correct heart rhythm issues.

The team said McGary previously had two similar procedures, which are considered minimally invasive. NFL teams were aware of his condition before the draft.

 

"It's awesome," he told reporters Monday about being cleared to practice. "It's been really boring just having to sit in meetings and not getting to do anything in practice. The little bit of gratification you get throughout is gone. It's been really awesome getting to play again."

The 6-foot-6, 306-pound McGary played his college ball at Washington and twice was an All-Pac-12 first-team selection. He also won the 2018 Morris Trophy as the conference's top offensive lineman.

Coach Dan Quinn said he had anticipated McGary to compete for the starting job if healthy throughout camp, and it's unclear how quickly the rookie can make a move or if he'll play Thursday against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

"Part of getting ready to play is participating fully in practice and having the confidence to do that," Quinn said. "We'll take him all the way through today and tomorrow, but as far as the first day goes, he definitely hit all of the markers that we were hoping to hit. He looked good and felt (like) himself out there, so that was important."

 

 

https://news.yahoo.com/falcons-1st-rounder-mcgary-returns-190844924.html

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Falcons rookie McGary back in practice after heart surgery

 

There's only one preseason game left for McGary to show he's ready for the regular season. Still, the rookie first-round pick has good reason to avoid rushing his return.

Having heart surgery, even a minimally invasive procedure, can do wonders for a player's perspective.

"It's not exactly my idea of a fun Wednesday night, you know?" McGary said after Monday's practice. He made his first return to practice on Sunday.

On July 31, McGary had a cardiac ablation procedure to correct a heart arrhythmia problem called ventricular tachycardia. He had two similar procedures in his playing career and sat out about six weeks after it was performed while he was playing at the University of Washington.

FILE - In this May 10, 2019, file photo, Atlanta Falcons offensive lineman Kaleb McGary speaks to the media after NFL football rookie camp in Flowery Branch, Ga. The Falcons' offensive line remains a work in progress. Having rookie first-round pick Kaleb McGary again cleared for contact following a heart procedure may help. (AP Photo/Tami Chappell, File)© Provided by The Associated Press FILE - In this May 10, 2019, file photo, Atlanta Falcons offensive lineman Kaleb McGary speaks to the media after NFL football rookie camp in Flowery Branch, Ga. The Falcons' offensive line remains a work in progress. Having rookie first-round pick Kaleb McGary again cleared for contact following a heart procedure may help. (AP Photo/Tami Chappell, File)

"It could have been a lot worse," he said. "There's not much to complain about. I'm happy with how things have gone and confident they did what they could to fix the problem. ... Hopefully it's gone for good this time."

 

He was first stricken with the problem in high school.

"It was a bummer to have to deal with it again," McGary said. "Of course, no one wants to have to go through heart surgery, whether it's minor or not."

Losing McGary (6-foot-8, 324 pounds) for most of August has helped make Atlanta's offensive line a work in progress.

At the portion of practice open to reporters on Monday, the first-string offensive line included left tackle Jake Matthews, left guard Jamon Brown, center Alex Mack, right guard Chris Lindstrom and right tackle Matt Gono.

Ty Sambrailo was competing with McGary for the starting job at right tackle before McGary's medical problem resurfaced.

"It certainly set Kaleb back, missing the time that he did," coach Dan Quinn said.

The overhaul of the offensive line was the Falcons' top offseason priority. It was a pressing concern after Matt Ryan was sacked 42 times last season, the second-highest total of his career.

Lindstrom was the No. 14 overall pick in the NFL draft. Then general manager Thomas Dimitroff acquired the No. 31 overall pick from the Rams to select McGary. The team also signed guards Brown and James Carpenter in free agency.

Gono's rise is perhaps the most significant development on the offensive line during the preseason. Gono signed with Atlanta last year as an undrafted free agent from Wesley College. He did not play in a game despite being kept on the 53-man roster all season, and now he is taking advantage of the year spent developing his skills.

"Couldn't have been more pleased with his development so far," Quinn said after Gono played in the Falcons' preseason loss to Washington last week.

Gono's progress could help the Falcons take a patient approach with McGary.

McGary may be on track to play in Atlanta's final preseason game at Jacksonville on Thursday night.

"If he keeps hitting markers like he has, we think he'll do it," Quinn said Monday.

McGary said he was out of shape after missing so much practice. Even so, he said it has been "awesome" to be back in practice less than one month after the procedure.

"I wouldn't say it's faster than I thought it would be," he said of his medical clearance for contact drills. "I tried to really just keep my expectations low and just go by what the doctors say. I'm returning at the pace the doctors say I should return at and listening to what the team tells me to do. I'm just taking it as fast and slow as I'm told."

 

https://www.msn.com/en-us/sports/nfl/falcons-rookie-mcgary-back-in-practice-after-heart-surgery/ar-AAGmpaa?li=BBnb7Kz

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Falcons' McGary optimistic after heart procedure

 
  • Vaughn McClure
  • ESPN Staff Writer

 

FLOWERY BRANÇH, GA. -- Atlanta Falcons rookie offensive lineman Kaleb McGary, a first-round draft pick from Washington, spoke optimistically about his recovery from a heart procedure as he returned to full practice this week.

McGary underwent a cardiac ablation -- a procedure that can correct heart rhythm problems -- on July 31. It was similar to the two, minimally invasive procedures he had undergone in the past.

"Feels good to move around again, not just sit here and pick my butt all day, so it's nice,'' McGary said Monday. "It's awesome [to return]. It's been really boring just sitting through meetings and not getting to do anything at practice. The little bit of gratification you get throughout the day is gone, so it's been really awesome to get to play again.''

 

Asked if his recovery has come along faster than expected, McGary responded, "I wouldn't say it's faster than I thought it would be. I tried to really just keep my expectations low and just go along with what the docs say. I'm returning at the pace that the doctors say I should return at and listening to what the team tells me to do. I'm just taking it as fast or as slow as I'm told.''

McGary explained that the procedure was not an atrial fibrillation, as in the past, but a ventricular tachycardia ablation, which is a procedure to eliminate the areas of the heart where erratic electrical signals come up that result in the heart beating ineffectively.

 

"A-fib's been gone. It was actually a separate rhythm called v-tach which I had in college,'' McGary said. "They didn't think they quite got rid of it, so I still had a little bit. It just didn't surface until recently, for whatever reason.

"And it was a number to have to deal with it again. Of course, no one wants to go through heart surgery, whether it's minor or not. Not exactly my idea of a fun Wednesday night, you know? But, you know, it could have been a lot worse. There's not much to complain about. So, I'm happy with how things have gone and how they went. And I'm confident that they did what they could to fix the problem. Yeah, I'm happy with where I am.''

Falcons coach Dan Quinn said he would determine McGary's playing status for Thursday's preseason finale at Jacksonville by Tuesday. McGary split reps at right tackle 50/50 with veteran Ty Sambrailo before the procedure. Now, it is up in the air who will start the Sept. 8 season opener at Minnesota between Sambrailo, who has been limited by a shoulder injury, McGary and second-year player Matt Gono. Neither McGary nor Gono has started an NFL game.

"I feel comfortable with all three guys,'' offensive line coach Chris Morgan said. "All three guys are working hard. All three guys are coming along every day.''

McGary returned to light work with a helmet during the team's Aug. 19 indoor practice. His activity appeared to increased during pregame of last week's preseason matchup against the Washington Redskins.

McGary couldn't say he is definitely ready for game action.

"I mean, that's not really my call,'' he said. "I know it's a pretty boring answer, but it's just kind of the truth. I don't make those calls. I'm a football player, so I love to play football. Any chance of playing football is better than not. But I need to be smart and I need to listen to what the trainers and the doctors say. If Coach thinks that I should play, I will. If he thinks I shouldn't, then I'll sit on the sidelines supporting my brothers and helping any way that I can.''

 

McGary talked about what advice the doctors gave him on how to proceed from here.

"Kind of the weird thing about this stuff is unlike a legitimate injury, there's not a lot you can do necessarily to recover or really prevent, it's really just about keeping an eye on it,'' McGary said. "I did a very serious stress test and stuff like that to measure my cardiac output, CO2 levels, oxygen intake and all of that. I was told the numbers looked good. I'm sure I'll probably have to repeat that.''

How often?

"Hopefully not very many,'' McGary said. "That was a very small seat on that bike. My butt still hurts.''

The Falcons will have three new starters on the offensive line with first-rounder Chris Lindstrom at right guard, McGary, Gono or Sambrailo at right tackle, and either James Carpenter or Jamon Brown at left guard. Pro Bowl center Alex Mack anchors the line with Pro Bowl left tackle Jake Matthews the other returning starter.

 

 

https://africa.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/27469704/falcons-mcgary-optimistic-heart-procedure

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