A weakness a season ago, the Falcons’ defense has sustained a major loss before summer even begins.
Weatherspoon’s injury occurred while running during the club’s organized team activities on Tuesday, Smith said in a statement posted on AtlantaFalcons.com.
“He will have a procedure done in the near future and we expect him to make a full recovery,” Smith said, according to the club.
The 26-year-old Weatherspoon appeared in just seven games in 2013, with a Lisfranc foot sprain suffered early in the campaign keeping him out of the lineup for two months. He also missed a pair of games at season’s end with a knee injury.
In his statement Tuesday, Smith noted that Weatherspoon “had been working extremely hard to get back on the field.”
The Falcons’ first-round pick in 2010, Weatherspoon has recorded 290 tackles in 47 regular season games (41 starts), defending 15 passes and notching eight sacks. He is entering the final year of his contract.
The Falcons appear set to employ a 3-4 defense this season. With Weatherspoon looking to be out for the 2014 campaign, second-year pros Paul Worrilow and Joplo Bartu could be the primary options at inside linebacker.