Atlanta Falcons safety Keanu Neal suffered an unfortunate setback as he sustained another injury right before halftime against the Colts. The injury occurred inside the end zone and appeared to be serious.
Fox Sports’ reported Neal has been ruled out for the game citing an Achilles’ injury. Neal threw his helmet down in pain and was visibly emotional as the Falcons medical staff attended to him on the field.
Neal was carted off the field and appeared to be holding his right knee. Neal had made a full recovery after sustaining a torn ACL in the Falcons’ season opener in 2018.
Neal Suffered a Torn ACL in the Falcons’ Season Opener in 2018
It is brutal news for a player that spent the last year rehabbing from an ACL injury. Heading into the season, Neal spoke about how the injury gave him a bit of a new perspective.
“It allowed me to see the game from a different view, support the guys and kind of build my game through that,” Neal told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “So far, I feel good,” Neal said. “I’m excited to be back out there with the guys. I’m running around and playing. I’m just taking it day by day, and we’ll go from there.”
Here is a look at the play where Neal sustained the injury.
Neal’s immediate reaction shows the safety suspects it is serious. Check out the video below to see Neal visibly in tears on the field after the injury.
To make matters worse, Neal was penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct for slamming his helmet down. It was obviously a response to the injury and not directed at the officials.
“Really scary: Keanu Neal in obvious pain – appears to be severely injured and very upset. Prayers up this is not another ACL for one of the game’s brightest young defensive stars. Cart is out,” ESPN’s Jordan Schultz tweeted.
Falcons Were Hoping to “Recapture” Attacking Defense in 2019
The Falcons were decimated by injuries in 2018, particularly on the defensive end. Neal and Deion Jones both missed the majority of last season with serious injuries. Falcons head coach Dan Quinn noted the team was hoping to “recapture” their defensive presence in 2019.
“More than anything the tweaks in the scheme along with the tweaks in the style to make sure we recapture that, I’m going to make sure the things are the most important stay at the front of our thinking and the physicality and the ball-hawking will certainly be some of those,” Quinn said, per NFL.com.
It is not clear how long Neal will be out, but if his reaction is any indication the safety could once again miss significant time.