Turner has high ankle sprain; Ryan, Norwood and Snelling must step up

Jay Glazer of FOXSports.com reports that Michael Turner has been diagnosed with a high ankle sprain, although the Falcons are apparently “very optimistic” that the injury won’t keep their star back out too long.

High ankle sprains can sideline players for as little as 2-3 weeks or as long as six months depending on the severity of the injury. In Turner’s case, it sounds like he’ll only be out a couple of weeks but who knows at this point. The Falcons will be fighting for a playoff spot the rest of the season, so it wouldn’t be surprising if Turner came back earlier than expected.

Atlanta has two capable backs in Jerious Norwood and Jason Snelling, although the former can never stay healthy. Norwood has battled concussions and a hip injury for much of the season and hasn’t spent a lot of time on the field.

When healthy, Norwood is a lighting rod and a threat to score every time he gets his hands on the ball, while Snelling looked good on Sunday in the team’s loss to the Panthers. He’s kind of a poor man’s Turner in that he’s a load to bring down, but he has surprising quickness and is a good receiver out of the backfield.

The Falcons could certainly do worse than a combination of Snelling and Norwood – much worse. But the problem is that if Norwood can’t stay healthy, Snelling isn’t the same back as Turner is. He’s more than serviceable, but he’s never been counted on to carry the full load, so Norwood has to recover quickly or else the Falcons’ season could slip away in a hurry.

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