Mike Smith: 'Julio Jones ahead of schedule following injury'

Falcons WR Julio Jones sits on the sidelines on August 14, 2013
© Getty Images
Atlanta Falcons coach Mike Smith says that Julio Jones has started running and that the team aim to have him ready for training camp, following his foot injury.

Atlanta Falcons coach Mike Smith has stated that Julio Jones is advancing ahead of schedule in his return from foot surgery.

Jones fractured his foot during a game with the New York Jets back in October, meaning that he missed the remainder of the campaign as the Falcons plummeted in the NFC South.

The Falcons won't rush Jones through off-season practice, as his knowledge of the playbook is good and the risk of re-injury is high.

"We anticipate that Julio will be ready to go 100%," Smith told reporters. "We'll get him going at some point in time here in the off-season.

"However, we'll be very careful and our number one goal is to have him ready to participate in training camp.

"He's ahead of schedule. He's started his running program with the athletic performance department, so that is good news."

Jones was on course for another big season with the Falcons before his injury, recording almost 600 receiving yards in just five matches last term.

Tony Gonzalez of the Atlanta Falcons heads off the field after the game against the Carolina Panthers at the Georgia Dome on December 29, 2013
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