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Vick says sore groin has improved

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FLOWERY BRANCH — Michael Vick says his sore groin has improved but added he didn’t try to test the injury as he took a reduced role in Wednesday’s practice.
    Vick had to leave the Atlanta Falcons’ loss to Dallas late in the game Saturday night due to the injury.
    Vick was listed as probable for Sunday’s game against Carolina and reported the sore groin ‘‘feels better.’’
    ‘‘I just wanted to take a day off and make sure when I came back to practice I’d be able to practice at 100 percent and feel good about it,’’ Vick said. ‘‘I’m just making sure I don’t do anything to re-injure it and making sure the pain goes away on its own.’’
    After Saturday night’s game, Vick said he ‘‘felt a pain I have never felt before.’’
    Backup Matt Schaub took the majority of the snaps with the first-team offense as he prepares for what could be his first start since Oct. 9, 2005 against New England. Vick, who has never started more than 15 games in a season, has made every start this season.
    ‘‘As far as going a long period of time without starting, it doesn’t help you,’’ Schaub said. ‘‘You’ve just got to be focused and stay sharp in practice.
    ‘‘I think if anything you’re still fresh. You haven’t taken the beating and you’ve got your routine down during the week as far as your method of preparation.’’
    Schaub had attempted only one pass this season before going 3 for 5 passing for 33 yards when playing behind Vick in the 38-28 loss to Dallas.
    Schaub is 0-2 as a starter, though he completed 18 of 34 passes for 298 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions in a 31-28 loss to the then-defending Super Bowl champion Patriots last season in Atlanta.
    ‘‘If it’s Matt, I feel confident,’’ said running back Warrick Dunn. ‘‘He has played in the league a few years and he’s made some plays when he’s had the opportunity. It’s going to be a collective team effort. He’s a confident kid. He’s going to go out and play his game if his number is called.’’
    Coach Jim Mora’s Falcons (7-7) need to beat Carolina to protect their wild-card playoff hopes. Mora said Vick and most of the team’s other injured players ‘‘should be ready to roll’’ by Sunday.
    ‘‘I thought he was fine,’’ said Mora of Vick. ‘‘He looked fine. We gave Schaub some work like we always do on Wednesdays.’’
    Several veterans, including Dunn (calf) and defensive end John Abraham (thumb) were held out Wednesday, though only Abraham and cornerback Jason Webster (groin) were listed as questionable. The others on the injury list, including Vick, were listed as probable.
    Abraham had surgery Monday to have a pin placed in his left thumb to repair an injury he suffered in the loss to Dallas. Abraham had his hand in a cast that stretched halfway up his arm, and he had the left arm in a sling as he watched practice.
    Abraham’s return could be crucial to the Falcons’ hopes, even if he is limited. He was named NFC defensive player of the week for his six tackles, two sacks and two forced fumbles in Atlanta’s 20-6 win at Carolina on Sept. 10. Abraham suffered a groin injury late in the game and missed eight of the next nine games.
    Abraham said he expects to play Sunday with a cast on the left hand.
    ‘‘It definitely will limit me because I won’t use my hands like I want to,’’ he said.
    Abraham needed abdominal surgery before returning from his earlier injury and said ‘‘I feel lucky’’ to be in a position to play after his second surgery of the season.
    ‘‘At least I’m getting the opportunity to finish the year,’’ he said.
    Tailback Jerrious Norwood, who missed the Dallas game with a sprained knee, returned to practice.
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