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Falcons rookie Matthews expects to play vs. Bucs


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FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP) — The Atlanta Falcons expect rookie left tackle Jake Matthews to play Thursday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Matthews, the No. 6 overall pick, sprained his left ankle in the season opener. He was limited during a walkthrough Monday evening, but coach Mike Smith says Matthews should be at full strength when the Falcons (1-1) practice Tuesday.

Gabe Carimi took over at left tackle after Matthews was hurt and started in an ugly 24-10 loss at Cincinnati. Carimi turned in a better performance than right tackle Lamar Holmes and could move to the other side if Matthews returns.

Matthews says it's the first game he's ever missed with an injury, even going back to his days playing youth football. He's eager to return when Atlanta takes on Tampa Bay (0-2).

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