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Source: Falcons safety Wilcox suffers ACL injury

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. — Atlanta Falcons safety J.J. Wilcox suffered an ACL injury on the first day of training camp, a source confirmed to ESPN.

Wilcox is scheduled to get a second opinion on his right knee to determine the severity. The Falcons won’t address the severity of the injury until coach Dan Quinn meets with the media following Tuesday’s practice.

Following Monday’s practice, Quinn did not address the injuries suffered by both Wilcox and reserve defensive lineman Michael Bennett, who appeared to injure his right ankle while being blocked by rookie first-round right guard Chris Lindstrom. Two members of the athletic performance staff helped Bennett off the field.

Wilcox remained on the ground kneeling on his left knee after a play and didn’t immediately get up when defensive backs Isaiah Oliver and Damontee Kazee came over to check on him. Both Kazee and strong safety Keanu Neal helped Wilcox off the field a little over an hour into practice.

The 28-year-old veteran Wilcox was an important offseason signing as the Falcons searched for quality depth behind Neal and starting free safety Ricardo Allen. Neal had a season-ending ACL tear in 2018, while Allen had a season-ending Achilles’ tear. Both practice in 11-on-11 drills Monday, although their team reps were limited.

Wilcox impressed the coaches during the offseason with his ability to play both safety spots. The Falcons even showed a package Monday with Neal, Allen and Wilcox all on the field together.

Without Wilcox, the Falcons might turn to Chris Cooper and Sharrod Neasman to provide depth at the position. There’s always the potential to sign another free-agent safety. And Kazee, who is playing nickel corner now, thrived as Allen’s replacement at free safety last season.

The Falcons don’t want to have a repeat of last year in terms of injuries. They saw six starters — Devonta Freeman, Andy Levitre, Brandon Fusco, Deion Jones, Allen and Neal — go on injured reserve, with Jones the only one to return to the lineup before season’s end.

The NFL Network was first to report the Wilcox’s ACL injury.

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