FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP) -Atlanta Falcons linebacker Demorrio Williams underwent surgery to repair a torn pectoral muscle that could keep the three-year veteran sidelined as long as five months.
Falcons general manager Rich McKay said Sunday that Williams, slated to enter his third season as the weakside starter, was injured lifting weights last week.
A similar injury ended Patrick Kerney's 2006 season. Kerney, who signed last month with Seattle, was injured in a Week 10 loss to Cleveland.
McKay and first-year coach Bobby Petrino confirmed Williams' injury means rookie Stephen Nicholas, a fourth-round draft pick from South Florida, will begin the mandatory three-day mini-camp May 11 working with the No. 1 defense.
According to McKay, the Falcons have no plans to move five-time Pro Bowl selection Keith Brooking from middle linebacker. Brooking began the last two seasons as the weakside starter, but injuries to Ed Hartwell, whom Atlanta released last month, moved him back inside.
The Falcons open the 2007 season on Sept. 9 at Minnesota.
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