When star wide receiver Julio Jones suffered a fractured right foot in a game against the New York Jets last October, it was the latest in string of injuries for the Atlanta Falcons. It also marked a beginning of a stretch of games that saw Atlanta lose nine of its final 12 games to finish the season 4-12. 

Needless to say, Jones’ presence is huge for the Falcons.

Unfortunately, the fourth-year receiver has only been able to practice every other day since training camp started and it’s unknown whether he will be able to go against the Miami Dolphins on Friday evening. Falcons head coach Mike Smith had this to say about Jones’ status (via ESPN.com).

I’m not going to talk about snaps and the number of snaps,” Smith said of Friday’s exhibition. “We want to go through and evaluate as many guys as we can. The majority of the time (today) in our staff meetings will be talking about play time.

Jones, as a first-team receiver, wouldn’t necessarily be playing too much in the preseason opener to begin with. But it’s important for him to get on the field and test that surgically repaired right foot prior to Week 1. He’s also going to need to be a more consistent participant in practice at some point soon, as the Falcons need Jones 100 percent this season in order to bounce back from a disastrous 2013 campaign.

Photo: USA Today