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Despite Abraham's ankle injury, Falcons believe defensive end will be ready for NFC title game

The Atlanta Falcons are making contingency plans in case defensive end John Abraham is unable to play at full capacity in Sunday's NFC title game against San Francisco.

Abraham, the NFL's active sacks leader, missed practice Wednesday with a sprained left ankle. The same injury forced him to leave last week's win over Seattle in the second quarter.

Abraham was initially hurt in the regular season finale loss to Tampa Bay, limping off the field with the help of trainers.

Coach Mike Smith says that he expects Abraham, a 13th-year veteran, to start against the 49ers.

Regardless of Abraham's status, the Falcons are giving reserve ends Cliff Matthews, Jonathan Massaquoi and Lawrence Sidbury more snaps in practice. Kroy Biermann is listed on the depth chart as starting end opposite Abraham.