Smith: Ryan has shoulder sprain, will sit out Pro Bowl

6:57 PM, Jan 21, 2013   |    comments
Quarterback Matt Ryan #2 of the Atlanta Falcons holds onto the ball as nose tackle Isaac Sopoaga #90 of the San Francisco 49ers tries to knock it out in the third quarter in the NFC Championship game at the Georgia Dome on January 20, 2013 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
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FLOWERY BRANCH,  Ga. -- Atlanta Falcons head coach Mike Smith said in a press confernce Monday that quarterback Matt Ryan has a sprained shoulder and will not play in next week's Pro Bowl.

Smith said Ryan's shoulder injury would not have kept him out of the Super Bowl had the Falcons won on Sunday.

"If we'd had the outcome we wanted last night, he would have participated in the game in New Orleans," said Smith.

Smith added that Ryan will be rehabbing his injured shoulder for the next couple of weeks. He said that surgery would not be necessary for the quarterback.

Ryan was attempting to engineer another dramatic come-from-behind win in Sunday's NFC Championship Game. Atlanta was trailing San Francisco 28-24 with just under two minutes left in the game. The quarterback completed a pass to fullback Jason Snelling and was hit hard by San Francisco linebacker Amhad Brooks. The defender pushed Ryan's left shoulder into the turf.

Ryan could be seen grimacing and at times favoring his injured shoulder.

After the game, Ryan downplayed the injury.

"I was alright," said Ryan. "Good enough to go."

Sports orthopedist Dr. Matt Pombo, who is not involved in Ryan'sdiagnosis or treatment, agrees the quarterback would have been ready to go by the Super Bowl.

Pombo says an injury like Ryan's typically means a strain to the ligaments between the shoulder blade and collarbone. With some treatment and pain management, Pombo predicts Ryan could have played the very next week.

"Anything that's detrimental to an athlete where you're risking anything, you're not going to numb up so they can play," said Pombo."But this particular injury most likely is very stable. It's in his non-throwing shoulder. He would have been able to play."

Coach Smith said he met with players Monday afternoon. He characterized it as a "tough meeting," according to a message from the Falcons' Twitter feed.

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"Our players are disappointed, but we did some good things," Smith said. "Off-season program starts the week of April 24, so we'll start all over again. It was not our goal this year to just win a playoff game. It was a good learning experience."

Smith talked about retiring tight end Tony Gonzalez, saying that his impact for the Falcons was immeasurable. He said he hoped that Gonzalez's self-described 95 percent chance that he would retire after this season wouldn't be the end of his career.

"Tony Gonzalez revolutionized that tight end position," Smith said. "I'm hoping for the 5 percent, but Tony handled this well all season. Tony and I will have a conversation in the next few weeks."

Smith will be heading to the practices for next weekend's Senior Bowl this week, sizing up the current class of collegiate prospects.

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