- Associated Press - Wednesday, December 10, 2014

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP) - Star receiver Julio Jones and safety William Moore are making improvement from injuries as the Atlanta Falcons prepare for a crucial game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The Falcons limited themselves to a walk-through Wednesday, looking to recover physically from a grueling Monday night loss to the Green Bay Packers. Coach Mike Smith said Jones and Moore would not have been able to practice, even if it had been a normal workout.

That said, Smith remains confident that both players will be able to go Sunday against the Steelers.

“Absolutely,” the coach said. “We are anticipating that both those guys will continue to turn around. It’s not even been 48 hours and we’ve had big turnarounds thus far. Both those guys are guys that don’t need to go out and practice. If they’re ready to go at 1 o’clock on Sunday, both those guys will be out there.”

Jones went out late in the 43-37 loss to the Packers with a hip injury after making 11 catches for a team-record 259 yards. Moore, who already missed much of the season with a shoulder injury, had to leave the game after hurting his foot.

Cornerback Robert Alford also was listed as out on the injury report. He has missed three games with an injured wrist, but is closing in on the outer range of his expected recovery period. Smith initially said it would be two-to-four weeks before he returned, wearing a special cast.

The Falcons (5-8) are assured of their second straight non-winning season, but they continue to lead the NFC South with a tiebreaker edge over the New Orleans Saints. If Atlanta wins out, it would capture the division championship with a .500 record and host a first-round playoff game.


AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP_NFL


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