Devonta Freeman‘s 2018 season is all but over.
Per Fox Sports’ Jay Glazer, the 26-year-old running back will undergo groin surgery and is subsequently being placed on injured reserve by the Atlanta Falcons. Though he’s eligible to return in eight weeks, it’s unlikely he’ll do so should the Falcons not be in the playoff hunt. They currently stand at 2-4 after Sunday’s 34-29 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Big loss from Falcons as they are going to place Devonta Freeman on IR today @NFLonFOX
— Jay Glazer (@JayGlazer) October 16, 2018
Devonta Freeman Placed on Injured Reserve by Atlanta Falcons
Freeman has appeared in just two games in 2018, the season opener against the Philadelphia Eagles and Atlanta’s Week Five contest against the Pittsburgh Steelers. During that time, he tallied 14 carries for 68 rushing yards in addition to adding 23 receiving yards on five catches. None of those reps resulted in touchdowns.
Head coach Dan Quinn provided details on Freeman’s injury while remaining cautiously optimistic he’ll be back later in the year.
“Following the game against Pittsburgh, where Devonta injured his foot, we thought he was just having general soreness in his groin area,” Quinn said in a team release. “As the week went on it continued so we decided to have him get some tests. It has been determined that he will need a procedure that will result in us placing him on injured reserve. We are hopeful he will be able to return this season, but we will have a better feel for that in the coming weeks.”
The fifth-year running back out of Florida State has totaled 3,316 rushing yards over the course of his career. That puts him seventh in Falcons franchise history. He exceeded the 1,000-yard threshold in both 2015 and 2016, making the Pro Bowl in each of those seasons.
Tevin Coleman is likely to see an increase in usage as a result of Freeman’s absence. His 71 carries and 260 yards leads the team and he’s also an important element of Atlanta’s passing game. He boasts two receiving touchdowns which puts him in a tie for fifth among NFL running backs.
Another player who should see a boost in reps due to Freeman missing time is rookie Ito Smith. The Southern Miss product, who the Falcons took in the fourth round of this year’s draft, owns a rushing touchdown in each of the last three games. Against Tampa Bay, Smith eclipsed 100 yards rushing for the season. Like Coleman, he’s also a reliable pass catcher, having caught 10 passes on 11 targets thus far.