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Atlanta’s injured Shockley could take time to heal

    FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. — Two days after suffering what appeared to be a serious left knee injury, D.J. Shockley was still listed as the Atlanta Falcons’ third-string quarterback Sunday night.

    Team spokesman Reggie Roberts said Falcons coach Bobby Petrino will discuss Shockley’s injury after practice on Monday. After the Falcons’ preseason win at Buffalo on Friday, Petrino described the former Georgia standout as having a sprained knee and said he would undergo an MRI.

    Donald Shockley, the player’s father, was still waiting to hear if his son would have a chance to play this year.

    ‘‘He’s still up at the complex, and they’re doing a bunch of tests,’’ Donald Shockley said. ‘‘All you can do is hope for the best.’’

    Todd France, Shockley’s Atlanta-based agent, didn’t immediately return a phone call.

    Shockley, who was trying to beat out Chris Redman for the No. 2 job behind starting quarterback Joey Harrington, was inactive for all 16 games as a rookie last season after Atlanta drafted him in the seventh round.

    Walking on crutches as he left the locker room at Buffalo, Shockley would be lost for the season if the Falcons place him on injured reserve. The team also would move quickly to sign another quarterback.

    Harrington has a 23-43 record as a starter at Detroit and Miami, but the former No. 3 overall draft pick of 2002 has encouraged Petrino in his first year as an NFL head coach.

    Michael Vick was the Falcons’ starting quarterback until his indictment last month on federal dogfighting charges. With Vick facing either a plea agreement or a jury trial that would begin Nov. 26 in Richmond, it’s highly unlikely he will play this season.

    Matt Schaub, who backed up Vick in 2004-05, now starts for the Houston Texans. For Petrino, the last few months have resulted in a shaky depth chart for Atlanta.

    When training camp began, the Falcons were without Vick and three other former Pro Bowl selections — tight end Alge Crumpler (knee), running back Warrick Dunn (back) and defensive tackle Rod Coleman (quadriceps). Starting linebacker Demorrio Williams was recovering from a torn pectoral muscle.

    Starting nose tackle Grady Jackson had just settled a lawsuit against the team, and Patrick Kerney, who didn’t miss a game in his first 71⁄2 seasons, had left as a free agent.

    ‘‘I remember being fired up on draft day and the next thing I saw was Rod Coleman in the training room with that injury,’’ Petrino said last week. ‘‘The positive part is that it happened then instead of the summer. He has a great chance of getting back and helping this team as best as possible. We just have to keep looking at the glass half-full.’’

    This knee injury is Shockley’s third five years.

    After leading Georgia to a No. 4 national ranking and a 7-0 record as a senior in 2005, Shockley sprained his left medial collateral ligament and could only watch from the sideline as Florida beat the Bulldogs 14-10.

    Shockley went on to help Georgia win the Southeastern Conference title game before the Bulldogs lost to West Virginia in the Sugar Bowl.

    In a blowout victory at Tennessee in 2003, Shockley tore cartilage in his left knee and underwent season-ending surgery.

    The former blue-chip recruit from North Clayton High School also had a broken foot as a redshirt freshman in ’02.

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