Falcons place tight end Kyle Pitts on IR with MCL injury
It’s been a tough season for Atlanta Falcons tight end Kyle Pitts, and it got worse after he was placed on injured reserve with an MCL sprain following the Falcons’ win over the Chicago Bears on Sunday.
Pitts’ season could be over as ESPN reports he will likely need surgery to fix the condition. Being placed on IR, Pitts must miss at least the next four games, which means he couldn’t return until Week 17 at the earliest (Chicago has a bye for Week 14).
Falcons head coach Arthur Smith said doctors would be consulted to determine the best treatment for the star tight end.
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“I’m not a doctor, but an MCL sprain is usually what happens – there are different degrees and where they are in the knee,” Smith said via ESPN. “I’ll let the medical experts deal with it.”
It was just the latest injury for Pitts, who suffered “a lot,” Smith said. He had to miss one game this season due to a hamstring injury but also played the other 10 games.
Pitts’ injury came on a third quarter catch-and-run, where he was tackled by the Bears’ Eddie Jackson through the knee. Pitts eventually got up and jogged off the field, but entered the medical tent before heading to the locker room to check his knee.
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“He’s had a huge impact on this team,” Smith said. “I know the numbers aren’t as showy as they were as a rookie and he’s played a lot, and he’s a tough guy and he’s had a huge impact.”
The reason they aren’t as flashy is due to a big quarterback change for the Falcons, as Marcus Mariota replaced Matt Ryan, who landed with the Indianapolis Colts.
Atlanta is the second-worst team in passing yards per game, which sits at just 154.5 per game so far this season. The Bears are dead last with 128.1 per contest.
In turn, Pitts went from 1,026 yards on 68 receptions with a touchdown in 17 games last season, to potentially finish this year with 356 yards on 59 catches with two touchdowns. Pitts’ rookie season was the first time a rookie tight end passed 1,000 yards in a season.
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However, Pitts has been focused this past offseason on working on his blocking and the other aspects of being a tight end to fill out his game. Smith loved what he brought to the Falcons, not just in the reception game.
“People just look at the stats, and his impact on winning was huge for us,” Smith said. “There are definitely times when we haven’t been in sync and the way we play at times where you have to sacrifice certain passing numbers.”
With Pitts out, Parker Hesse and MyCole Pruitt are the tight ends of the depth chart for Atlanta.
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At 5-6, the Falcons are still in playoff contention, watching the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the NFC South, who are 5-5 on the year.