Atlanta Falcons star wide receiver Roddy White has not played in a game since injuring his hamstring in Week 5 against the New York Jets, and he never missed a game in his entire career prior to that injury. White finally made his return to the practice field on Friday, which was what Falcons head coach Mike Smith had hoped for. The 32-year-old is set to be game-time decision for today’s rivalry game against the Carolina Panthers, and there was some hope that he would play following his ability to practice on Friday.
However, the NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reports that Roddy White does not expect to play today against the Panthers and is instead focused on trying to be fully healthy. There was some optimism that White would be able to play this week, but the nagging ankle and hamstring injuries are still preventing White from being 100%. I completely understand why White would want to ensure that he is fully healthy going forward, because these nagging injuries have really taken a toll on him. He played through a significant ankle sprain in the first five weeks of the regular season, and it was clear that he couldn’t get much going due to the injury.
I would fully expect White to return for next week’s game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but fantasy owners shouldn’t trust him to play today. He’s still going to be a game-time decision and has a shot at playing, but it looks like both he and the Falcons want him to be fully healthy in the long run. It seemed like White would play based on the news we received on Friday, but Rapoport’s report that only a “significant improvement” would enable White to play today is discouraging. Even if he plays today, White still can’t be fully trusted to be a viable fantasy option due to the injury.