Julio Jones on track for Falcons return

Scott Cunningham

Jones missed the last 11 games of the 2013 season and the Falcons struggled in his absence.

Julio Jones missed the majority of the 2013 season with a foot injury, but the Atlanta Falcons wide receiver is expected to be cleared to return for the team in time to participate in spring practices, according to Vaughn McClure of ESPN.

Jones, 24, played in just five games for the Falcons in 2013, but was off to a great start to the year with 41 receptions, 580 yards receiving and two touchdowns. The hot start had the third-year receiver well on pace to shatter the franchise records for receptions and receiving yards in a season that are both held by Roddy White.

With Jones out of the lineup, the Falcons compiled a 3-8 record to finish the year (which wasn't much different than the 1-4 record the team recorded with him in the game), which resulted in the worst finish of the Mike Smith era.

After three consecutive seasons with an offense that finished in the top seven for points scored, the Falcons offense finished with the 20th-most points in 2013.

It was a bad season for White as well, as the counterpart for Jones finished with fewer than 1,000 receiving yards for the first time since 2006. White finished with just 63 receptions for 711 yards and three touchdowns, although Harry Douglas tallied a career-best 1,067 yards receiving.

Jones earned a Pro Bowl bid in his second season in 2012 after finishing with 79 receptions for 1,198 yards and 10 touchdowns in addition to 24 receptions for 305 yards and two touchdowns in the postseason.

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