According to his personal Twitter account, McKinley (shoulder) underwent successful shoulder surgery Thursday.
It's the second year in a row McKinley has undergone shoulder surgery, as he will now focus on returning to full strength in time for the offseason program. McKinley played 401 defensive snaps across 16 regular season games in 2017.
The nature of the procedure is unknown, but McKinley underwent shoulder surgery last March in the midst of the pre-draft process. The Falcons' subsequent first-round selection, he proceeded to play in every game as a rookie, playing 38 percent of the defensive snaps en route to the second-most sacks (six) on the team. Because he's taking care of the issue in early February, he likely will be fine by the time the offseason program starts in mid-April.
McKinley recorded 20 tackles (15 solo), six sacks, two forced fumbles and one pass defensed across 16 games in 2017.
The rookie made his presence felt throughout the season on Atlanta's defense, recording the second-most sacks on the team. Like any rookie, there is room to grow for McKinley, as he will use a full offseason to get better accustomed to Atlanta's schemes. The Falcons boast a ton of talent at defensive end, with Adrian Clayborn serving as the only free agent this offseason. Still, McKinley could be due for an expanded role in his sophomore campaign.
McKinley (shoulder) will play in Sunday's preseason game against the Steelers, D. Orlando Ledbetter of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.
McKinley has slowly increased his practice reps and is apparently ready to go for the Falcons' second preseason game Sunday. The Falcons' 2017 first-round pick is expected to shore up their defensive front, and could possibly push for a starting role.
McKinley (shoulder) is nearing a full return and could make his preseason debut Sunday at Pittsburgh, Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com reports.
McKinley has witnessed a steady increase in practice reps as he works to get back to full health. The Falcons' rookie is expected to bring in much needed help on the Atlanta defensive front in his first NFL season. While it's not necessarily a guarantee he'll play in Pittsburgh, it's a good sign to his progression gaining steam.
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