Julio Jones remains one of the best wide receivers in the NFL today. Even after missing most of the 2013 Nfl Season with a foot injury, Jones returned in 2014 with 104 receptions for 1,593 yards and six touchdowns. In 2016, Julio had his third straight 1,000-yard receiving season and fourth of his career. The fact is that Jones caught 83 passes for 1,409 yards and six touchdowns and then followed it up with 19 more receptions for 334 yards and three touchdowns on the way to the Atlanta Falcons Super Bowl appearance.

And Julio Jones was doing this while playing injured.

Julio Jones injury

Julio Jones had surgery on his left foot in March. This is not something that Atlanta Falcons fans want to hear because the injury that caused him to miss all that time in the 2013 NFL season was a fracture to his foot after playing just five games. He needed surgery then too and missed a lot of time. However, he bounced back stronger than ever and this surgery was much less intensive. This time, it was to fix a “minor foot sprain,” an injury that bothered him throughout 2016, along with turf toe and shoulder pain.

Jones surgery went well and he was back at practice for the first time on Wednesday. Julio had been part of the first five training camp practices but in a limited capacity.

He finally ran a few routes on Wednesday in 11-on-11 drills and worked on blocking downfield. However, as many teams are learning this year in training camp, the biggest stars need to work as little as possible to avoid injury concerns.

2017 prognosis

When it comes to Julio Jones and the 2017 NFL season, don’t expect him to take a step back.

Now that he has fixed his foot, he might have an even better year playing pain-free. Atlanta Falcons head coach Dan Quinn said that watching Julio practice on Wednesday was good to see and he was moving back closer to top peak conditioning. Quinn said that the Falcons are in the “return-to-play mode” and that means it is time to get the players ready for the season to start in just over a month.

However, the Atlanta Falcons are playing it smart and won’t overload Julio Jones when it comes to training camp and preseason. There are a lot of players who could use extra work and the connection from Matt Ryan to Julio Jones is not an area that needs a lot of practice. With Jones playing injured in 2016, it might be smarter to just let him ease back in and then go full speed when the season starts. Quinn said the Falcons are unsure if Jones will play at all this preseason.