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Often-injured Atlanta QB says this time it is a minor sprain

Miami QB Trent Green is carried off the field on a stretcher Sunday.

Miami QB Trent Green is carried off the field on a stretcher Sunday.

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. – Just after Byron Leftwich celebrated his increased practice time with the Atlanta Falcons, the quarterback left the field Thursday after twisting his right ankle.

For Leftwich, it’s a painfully familiar story.

He missed 15 games with injuries the last two years with the Jacksonville Jaguars, including 10 games with a bad ankle.

The good news for Leftwich this time: The injury is not serious, and it’s not the same ankle that shut down his 2006 season.

“It’s OK. It’s a minor sprain,” Leftwich said.

The Falcons’ medical staff “didn’t want me to do anything further to it,” he said.

Leftwich said X-rays on the ankle were negative.

“I took the rest of today’s practice off and we’ll see how it feels in the morning,” he said.

Leftwich, who was released by the Jaguars late in the preseason, signed with Atlanta on Sept. 18 and made his first appearance in last week’s loss to Tennessee.

Leftwich was 2 of 8 passing for 28 yards with an interception in relief against the Titans. But it was enough that coach Bobby Petrino said Leftwich had moved up to No. 2 on the depth chart behind starter Joey Harrington.

Leftwich said the most important part of moving up the chart is the increased snaps with receivers Michael Jenkins, Roddy White, Joe Horn and the rest of the first-team offense in practice.

“That’s the exciting part for me,” Leftwich said. “I get a chance to throw a route to Mike or Joe Horn or Roddy – I get a chance to throw with those guys in practice. We all know that the more you practice the better you become.”

The Falcons are only 1-4 entering Monday night’s game against the New York Giants, but Harrington has earned mostly positive reviews.

Green having tests
DAVIE, Fla. – Miami Dolphins quarterback Trent Green returned to South Florida after undergoing tests in Kansas City for a severe concussion, his second in 13 months.

Green was encouraged and feels good, coach Cam Cameron said Thursday, but the Dolphins are awaiting additional results from specialists.

“We just need to let some time go by here,” Cameron said. “They recommended some rest. They just all want to let the thing settle down and make sure we know what all took place.”

The 37-year-old Green was knocked unconscious with a Grade III concussion, the most severe, in Sunday’s loss at Houston. He’s out indefinitely, and it’s uncertain whether he’ll play again.

Jones missed practice
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Tennessee defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth did not practice Thursday, missing a second straight day with a sore ankle. Receiver Brandon Jones also missed a second straight practice.

Coach Jeff Fisher said both should practice Friday.

A six-year veteran, Haynesworth is off to his best start yet with 26 tackles.

His official stats, with one tackle for loss, one sack and one quarterback pressure, don’t indicate the effect he’s had on games, which included a leap over the center and guard last week that turned a toss into an 8-yard loss.

Jones (knee) is the Titans’ leading receiver with 13 catches for 172 yards.

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