The following Julio Jones‘ body parts have appeared on the Atlanta Falcons injury report this season – ankle eight times, thumb twice and back, hip, knee and ribs once apiece.
This week, it’s the ankle, and Jones did not practice on Tuesday and Wednesday. But the wide receiver worked during the final practice of the week on Thursday before the Falcons left Atlanta for their Saturday playoff game in Philadelphia against the Eagles.
Despite all those appearances on the injury report, Jones has played in every Atlanta game. During the regular season, he caught 88 passes for 1,444 yards and three touchdowns, then had nine receptions for 94 yards and a touchdown in the Falcons’ 26-13 victory over the Los Angeles Rams in the first round of the playoffs. He earned his fourth straight Pro Bowl invitation and led the NFC in receiving yards for the fourth season in a row.
So the Falcons aren’t concerned about Jones being ready to play on Saturday.
“He has a real process to do that,” Atlanta coach Dan Quinn said. “We’re fortunate that he’s played with injuries and kind of knows the routine of how to do it.”
Hall of Fame coach Vince Lombardi used to say: “Hurt is in the mind.” Jones phrases pain management another way: “Once you get it mentally, everything else is really easy for you.”
“The thing with being injured is really just blocking it out,” Jones told reporters in the Falcons’ locker room on Thursday. “Don’t use it as an excuse. If you say you’re going to go, go. Don’t bring it up in the middle of the game like, ‘Oh, this hurts.’ Like, we know that it hurts. You know what I mean? So don’t let your mind be negative. Just stay positive. If something’s hurting or anything like that, I never relate back to it like, ‘Oh, it’s — ‘ Well, I know it hurts. You don’t want to talk about it and bring that stuff up during the game.
“If I suit up, I’m going. I’m not saying anything about it. It is what it is. I’m out there.”
Jones cited an incident at Alabama that…