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Falcons' Chandler Iffy For Sunday

Injured Atlanta Falcons quarterback Chris Chandler expects to play this Sunday at St. Louis, but coach Dan Reeves painted a more pessimistic picture today.

Chandler, the most indispensible player on the surprising Falcons (9-2), suffered a sprained right ankle and knee in Sunday's 20-13 win over the Chicago Bears.

Although Chandler said afterwards he would "be able to play" this weekend, Reeves said today that the quarterback could be listed as tentatively "doubtful" for Sunday's game against the Rams.

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  • "He's very sore today, but we'll just have to wait and see if he can practice on Thursday," said Reeves at today's media briefing. "But right now he's doubtful."

    If Chandler is unable to go, 44-year-old Steve DeBerg would make his second start of the season for the Falcons. DeBerg is the oldest player in the NFL.

    Chandler was injured with 6:49 to play in the fourth quarter. Chicago defensive tackle Mike Wells was drawn offside by center Robbie Tobeck and tackled Chandler, whose knee bent back awkwardly.

    "I felt a sharp pain in my knee, then I came off and it subsided," said Chandler, who helped Atlanta rally from a 10-point third-quarter deficit. "My ankle hurt the most then, but I've had it before. ... At first I was scared about the knee, but actually the ankle is more serious. I guess I'll be able to play next week."

    Chris Chandler
    Chris Chandler is helped off the field after injuring his knee and ankle against the Bears. (AP)

    Wells called the pla"a fluke."

    "I grabbed the quarterback and he kind of got his knee caught up underneath. It snapped or something," he explained. "I was kind of trying to hold him up and he got pushed back. I really hope he is OK. I heard something crackle and pop in his knee. Like I said, I didn't mean anything by it."

    The 33-year-old Chandler completed 18-of-27 passes for 272 yards, including touchdowns to Terance Mathis and Todd Kinchen. Atlanta set a team record with its eighth straight home win and remained in the hunt for home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs.

    The Falcons are 15-4 over the past two seasons in games Chandler has started and finished. They lost the only game he did not start this year as the New York Jets defeated Atlanta and DeBerg, 28-3, on Oct. 25 as Chandler sat out with a shoulder injury.

    Chandler made his first Pro Bowl appearance last season and signed a three-year contract extension during training camp. He has completed 55 percent of his passes (137-of-249) this year for 2,248 yards with 17 touchdowns and nine interceptions.

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