The move will keep Freeman out at least the next eight games, but the Falcons hope to have him back before the end of the season.
"Following the game against Pittsburgh (Oct. 7), where Devonta injured his foot, we thought he was just having general soreness in his groin area," said Falcons coach Dan Quinn in a statement on the team's website. "As the week went on it continued so we decided to have him get some tests. It has been determined that he will need a procedure that will result in us placing him on injured reserve. We are hopeful he will be able to return this season, but we will have a better feel for that in the coming weeks."
Freeman missed three games earlier this season with a knee injury. The two-time Pro Bowl selection is now nursing foot and groin injuries for the Falcons (2-4), who are expected to announce a roster move later in the day.
Versatile Tevin Coleman and fourth-round rookie Ito Smith will handle the running back duties in the absence of Freeman, who joins safety Ricardo Allen, linebacker Deion Jones, guard Andy Levitre and safety Keanu Neal as Falcons starters who have gone on injured reserve since the start of the season.
Freeman rushed 14 times for 68 yards and had five receptions for 23 yards in three games this season.
Signed to a six-year, $43 million deal in 2017, Freeman has rushed for 3,321 yards and 30 touchdowns in his career. The 5-foot-8, 206-pounder also has 198 receptions for 1,605 yards and seven scores through the air since being selected by the Falcons in the fourth round of the 2014 NFL Draft.