Atlanta Falcons running back Devonta Freeman is heading to the injured reserve as he continues to nurse a groin injury, according to ESPN's Vaughn McClure.
The 26-year-old Freeman has only played two games this season - Week 1 vs. the Philadelphia Eagles and Week 5 against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Foot and groin injuries have hampered Freeman's 2018 campaign, and head coach Dan Quinn stated the team is hoping he can play again this season.
Per McClure, Quinn also said that Freeman will need a procedure, but it has not been scheduled yet, per a source. The two-time Pro Bowler now joins a long list of Falcons' talents who have lost a big chunk of 2018 due to injuries.
Safety Keanu Neal tore his ACL in Week 1 vs. Philadelphia and is out for the rest of the season. Linebacker Deion Jones needed foot surgery and might return in mid-November, per McClure. An Achilles tear ended the season of starting cornerback Ricardo Allen, and left guard Andy Levitre is also done for 2018 after suffering a triceps injury.
The Falcons have been completely snake-bitten when it comes to injuries this season. They entered 2018 as a favorite to win the NFC, but almost no team in the NFL can possibly get by with losses to three standouts on defense, its Pro Bowl running back and a top offensive lineman.
Atlanta barely escaped with a 34-29 home win against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday, moving their record to 2-4. Their playoff hopes are barely alive, but they can realistically afford just two more losses if there's any chance of qualifying. Going 9-7 in a stacked NFC simply won't be good enough.
It's probably going to go down as a lost season for the Falcons, but this young defense simply can't get any worse injury luck. With Matt Ryan performing like his 2016 MVP self, Atlanta should return to Super Bowl contention next season.