Falcons RB Turner wants to play vs. Eagles, but he's being cautious

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- Atlanta Falcons running back Michael Turner sat out practice Wednesday, but he isn't giving up on playing in a crucial game against the Philadelphia Eagles.

Turner initially suffered a high right ankle sprain during a Nov. 15 loss at Carolina. After sitting out one game, he returned to play last Sunday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, only to go down again in the third quarter with the same problem.

The Falcons (6-5) host the Eagles (7-4) in a matchup of teams fighting for playoff spots in the NFC.

The Falcons already have ruled out starting quarterback Matt Ryan with an injured toe, and not having Turner would deprive the team of two key offensive players. In addition, right guard Harvey Dahl (ankle) skipped practice and left tackle Sam Baker (elbow) received only limited work, so the offense could be missing as many as four offensive starters against the Eagles. Wide receiver Michael Jenkins sat out, too, with a previously unknown ankle problem.

Turner said he'll suit up if at all possible, though ankle sprains -- especially high sprains -- can lead to lingering problems if not allowed to fully heal.

"I feel better than I did before," Turner said. "But ankle sprains are funny injuries. You've just got to take your time with it, not rush things and make sure you're back to being as close to 100 percent as possible."

Of course, Turner knows what's at stake against the Eagles.

"I don't know if I'll play," he said. "I'm taking it day by day. I'm not ruling myself out. I'm not saying I'm going to play."

Turner has no second thoughts about playing against the Bucs and doesn't believe that he re-injured his ankle by coming back too soon. He said it was simply a typical football play: A defender fell on the running back's ankle, and he was pushed back under a pile of players.

"The team needs me out there. We need everybody out there," Turner said. "If I can go out there and give it some type of effort, I'll suit up and go. I have no regrets about that."

Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

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