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Falcons ‘anticipate’ Julio Jones will play Thursday against Saints

Atlanta Falcons head coach Dan Quinn indicated Tuesday it is the team’s expectation that Julio Jones will be good to go for  Thursday night showdown with the New Orleans Saints. But the dynamic wide receiver was somewhat cryptic with his comments concerning his potential availability.

“He did the walk through last night and did that today,” Quinn said, via NFL.com. “From what we saw, he’s doing good and we anticipate him playing for the game.”

Jones, meanwhile, was unwilling to give a full confirmation regarding whether he expects to be on the field Thursday after being hampered with a nagging hamstring issue over the past few weeks, including last Sunday’s 25-19 win over the Washington Redskins.

“That’s my plan, to play,” Jones said Tuesday, via the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “But who knows?”

Despite his limited explosiveness, Jones nevertheless played in 73 of 80 snaps in Sunday’s overtime win, making five receptions for 67 yards, definitely a downward deviation from his dominant play the first few weeks of the season. But Jones indicated he doesn’t have to be 100 percent to play, as he understands he can still contribute even if he’s not completely healthy.

“If I can go, I am going to go,” he said. “I am going to have to be really down bad not to go out there and play. If I feel like I am putting myself in danger as far as going out there and not being able to make a defender miss, then I won’t go. If I feel like I can do that and help my team by drawing coverage and doing my job, I’m going to go.”

In his first three games before the injury, Jones has made 34 receptions for 440 yards and four touchdowns. But his productivity in the win over the Redskins was a modest improvement over the four catches for 38 yards he had in the previous week’s win over the Houston Texans. So it appears he’s on the slow road to recovery at the very least.