FLOWERY BRANCH — The Atlanta Falcons plan on having defensive end John Abraham ready to lead their pass rush on Sunday in the NFC title game.
Abraham was limited in practice Friday for the third straight day, but he expects to start when the Falcons (14-3) host San Francisco (12-4-1).
"I feel good," Abraham said. "My workload was ramped up every day as the week progressed. Everyone is hurt at this time of year, but this is the NFC championship, so we all have to go."
The Falcons' injury report includes defensive tackle Jonathan Babineaux (shoulder), strong safety William Moore (right hand), linebacker Stephen Nicholas (foot) and reserve cornerback Christopher Owens (hamstring).
Babineaux and Abraham are listed as questionable. Moore, Nicholas and Owens are probable, and all three participated fully in practice Friday.
Even though Abraham might not be at full strength, coach Mike Smith believes he can still push off his left foot well enough to help close the pocket on 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
Smith said the medical staff recommended keeping Abraham on the sideline after he reinjured the ankle in the second quarter of last week's divisional playoff win over Seattle.
Abraham, the NFL's active career sacks leader with 122, didn't return to the game. He played just 15 snaps.
"I think he can be very effective," Smith said. "With the way the score was at that point and time, we felt like it was not in our best interest to put him back out there. He's done a nice job this week. He's participated in practice all week, so we're anticipating he'll be ready to go."
Abraham led the Falcons with 10 sacks and finished the regular season with a career-high seven pass breakups.
Babineaux had 3.5 sacks, five pass breakups, and one interception.
Moore, who picked off a career-high four passes and had eight pass breakups in 12 games, returned against Seattle after missing four games because of a strained hamstring. He declined to say this week how he hurt his right hand.
Owens practiced on Thursday for the first time since getting hurt Dec. 22 at Detroit.
Nicholas has started 16 of his 17 games this season