The Atlanta Falcons were hopeful the injury was minor, but an MRI proved otherwise.
According to NFL insider Adam Schefter, Falcons safety Keanu Neal suffered a torn ACL and his 2018 season is officially over.
Big blow: Falcons S Keanu Neal tore his ACL and is out for the season, per source.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) September 7, 2018
Neal left Thursday night's game against the Philadelphia Eagles, falling to the turf and immediately clutching his knee. What made the injury appear worse was that it came on a non-contact play, which is usually never a good sign. Shortly afterwards, the team announced he was out for the remainder of the game.
It is now the second straight year where a team's starting safety was injured on Opening Night. Last year, Eric Berry of the Kansas City Chiefs tore his Achilles against the New England Patriots, ending his season.
Keanu Neal will be out for the season.— Atlanta Falcons (@AtlantaFalcons) September 7, 2018
Now with this serious injury, a key piece to Atlanta's defense is lost after just one game of the season, which was evident in the second half, as the Eagles had a much easier time against the depleted secondary.
With Neal out, Damontae Kazee will rise up the depth chart and likely earn starters reps. That is, unless the Falcons check out the open market.