For the second year in a row, Falcons safety Keanu Neal will miss most of the season.
The former first round selection tore his Achilles’ tendon to add injury to insult after the Falcons lost to the Colts in Week 3. Adding another layer of misfortune, Neal was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct directly after the injury. He took his helmet off while crying in pain, which is a 15-yard penalty.
This loss puts Atlanta at 1-2, and without a solid player in Neal.
This comes one year after Neal tore his ACL in the 2018 season opener. In his first four seasons since being drafted number 17 overall, he will have played in 34 games total. The Falcons defense, decimated by injuries in recent years, will have to use the next man up. In this case, Kemal Ishmael, a 7th year player out of UCF.
Neal was off to a good start in 2019. He collected 14 total tackles (11 solo), and a quarterback hit in his three games. He was especially productive against Philadelphia in Week 2, where he collected eight of his 11 solo tackles.
ESPN’s Ian Rapoport reports that Neal should have surgery this week, and return for the 2020 season.
#Falcons S Keanu Neal is believed to have torn his Achilles in today’s game, source said. When the MRI confirms, he’ll have surgery this week and should be good to go well before the 2020 season. Another bad-luck injury for Neal, but he’s battled back before.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) September 22, 2019
While there is no concrete good news, Neal is only 24-years-old. A speedy recovery is likely, and it is not a guarantee that an injury this serious will reoccur. He has already had two season-ending injuries, but it is just as likely they will not happen again.
After the disappointing Week 2 loss, the Falcons take on the Titans at home on Sunday, September 29.
Featured Image courtesy of Thomas J. Russo/USA TODAY Sports
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