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Falcons DT Jonathan Babineaux has partially torn MCL

Veteran played on injury at Chicago Brad Biggs

Print This September 12, 2011, 04:08 PM EST

Atlanta Falcons defensive tackle Jonathan Babineaux has a track record for being a durable performer, so it wasn’t a surprise when he only missed a short period of time Sunday in the season opener at Chicago with a partially torn MCL.

Babineaux was taken to the locker room during the second quarter but returned to action in the third quarter and played for the remainder of the game with the injury. He’s missed only three games in the previous six seasons with the Falcons, a model of consistency on the interior of the line.

The Falcons cannot afford another injury at the position right now. Fellow defensive tackle Corey Peters did not play in the 30-12 loss to the Bears at Soldier Field. He’s been sidelined for three weeks with a knee injury that has not requires surgery. Former first-round draft pick Peria Jerry started in his place, and the Bears’ offense was clicking for most of the game, at least before it reached the red zone.

Atlanta has been dutifully working the last few years to strengthen its defensive line, and signed end Ray Edwards for this season. The Falcons are hoping Babineaux’s knee injury doesn’t slow him down too much but it could be rest is needed for him to regain strength.

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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

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