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Flowery Branch, Ga. - The Atlanta Falcons returned to the practice field today to begin preparing for the 2002 season-opener against the Green Bay Packers at historic Lambeau Field.<p>

The Falcons used stadium noise pumped in through loud speakers during the team portion of practice to help simulate conditions expected at Lambeau Field on Sunday. Said head coach Dan Reeves on the key to the Green Bay game, "I think the key to the game is going to be the running game; who has the ability to run the football. Ahman Green, he averaged over four yards a carry last year and over 1,300 yards."

Green had 62 yards on 17 carries for a 3.6-yard average last season in the Falcons 23-20 victory at Lambeau Field.

Defensive end Travis Hall and LB Artie Ulmer both returned to the practice field today. Hall missed the entire preseason after suffering a groin and abdomen injury during training camp on August 6. Hall is listed on the injury report as doubtful. Ulmer was diagnosed with a partial tear of the post cruciate ligament of his left knee following an injury in the preseason game against the Giants. He practiced for the first time since that injury today.

Two players have been ruled out for the season-opener due to injury and did not practice today. LB Chris Draft is out with a hamstring injury, and LB Will Overstreet is out with a shoulder injury.

Draft injured his hamstring late in the Bengals preseason game. Overstreet suffered the most serious injury in the preseason-finale at Cincinnati when he left the game with a little over two minutes remaining. Overstreet aggravated a shoulder injury that held him out of the first two preseason contests. Overstreet suffered a slightly torn labrum and ligament during practice on August 6. He returned to practice the next day with a harness on his shoulder, but was held out of contact. After consulting with a doctor in Birmingham, it was believed at the time that the shoulder injury was manageable without surgery.

In addition to Hall and Ulmer, four other players missed the Cincinnati preseason-finale due to injury. RB Travis Jervey (shoulder), LB Sam Rogers (groin), LB Mark Simoneau (abdominal) and T Todd Weiner (shoulder) were able to practice today.

Jervey and Rogers were hurt in the Dallas preseason game. Jervey is not listed on the injury report, and Rogers is listed as probable on the injury report.

Weiner was injured in the Giants preseason game. He is listed as probable. Simoneau suffered an abdominal strain during pregame warm-ups prior to the Giants game and did not play in the game. He is listed as doubtful.

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