ATLANTA – Breakout rookie star Alvin Kamara was removed from New Orleans’ 20-17 loss to the Atlanta Falcons on Thursday night after absorbing a helmet-to-helmet hit on the Saints’ opening drive.

He immediately jogged off the field and was evaluated for a concussion by trainers before being walked back to the locker room.

The 22-year-old running back has emerged as a front-runner for the NFL’s Offensive Rookie of the Year award with 606 rushing yards, 614 receiving yards and 11 touchdowns entering Thursday night’s game.

Veteran Saints running back Mark Ingram should play an even bigger role in Kamara’s absence.

Ingram has been equally effective as part of New Orleans’ dynamic running back duo.

Ingram and Kamara are on pace to become the first duo to surpass 1,500 scrimmage yards in the same season.

Ingram started and took the first carry for the Saints despite being listed as questionable for Thursday’s game with a toe injury.

Saints rookie defensive end Trey Hendrickson limped off the field and rode a cart back to the locker room after suffering an ankle injury when he planted his foot awkwardly.