New Orleans Saints: NFL injury wire

WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.Va. -- Drew Brees remained sidelined by a strained oblique during Monday’s practice, increasing the odds that he will sit out the New Orleans Saints' second preseason game on Friday night against the Tennessee Titans.

However, Brees continued to show signs that he won’t be out for too long. He threw passes to receiver Kenny Stills and ran with cornerback Champ Bailey, among other exercises on an adjacent practice field.

Saints coach Sean Payton didn’t bother with another daily status update calling Brees "day to day" and adding that Brees is "getting there."

Payton did, however, elaborate slightly when asked about the injuries to cornerbacks Bailey and Patrick Robinson and how they’ll affect the Saints' evaluation of that No. 2 cornerback battle. Although Payton didn’t specify either player's injury, he predicted both will return to practice soon.

Bailey, who has been sidelined since July 31, did more running on the side Monday than we have seen to date. Robinson, who left Sunday’s practice early, spent some time on the stationary bike Monday.

"I think (Bailey) is making progress, and I think sooner than later he’s gonna be back out here," Payton said. "Champ’s someone that’s smart enough to know his body and obviously wants to make sure he’s 100 percent. ...

"I think with regards to Patrick, I don’t anticipate him being out a whole lot of time. He’s in good shape and he was smart enough yesterday, he just felt it get tight and he pulled off."

In another bit of good news, running back Pierre Thomas returned to practice in full pads and participated in some full-team drills after being held out of last Friday’s preseason opener and Sunday’s practice with an undisclosed injury.

Meanwhile, guard Jahri Evans, linebacker Victor Butler, fullback Erik Lorig, cornerback Rod Sweeting and safety Ty Zimmerman remained absent from practice.

Kicker Shayne Graham was present but did not participate in practice after suffering an undisclosed injury during Friday’s game. Stills, offensive tackle Ty Nsekhe and tight end Je'Ron Hamm were also present but didn’t participate.

Safety Jairus Byrd and guard Ben Grubbs were dressed in full pads and did some individual work, but they did not participate in full-team drills.

UPDATE: Center Jonathan Goodwin and linebackers David Hawthorne and Kyle Knox were not present at the Saints’ afternoon walk-through. It’s unknown if their absences were injury-related.
WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.Va. -- It's still unclear whether or not safety Jairus Byrd will be back on the field for the New Orleans Saints' first training camp practice on Friday. But coach Sean Payton said he expects the three-time Pro Bowler back "sooner than later."

"Much like we expected," Payton said of Byrd, who underwent a minor back surgery this summer to alleviate a nagging disc issue.

The Saints' original projection was for Byrd to be healthy enough to participate in training camp -- and back to full speed in plenty of time for the regular season. And a league source confirmed earlier this week that Byrd's recovery has been going as expected this summer.

Payton and general manager Mickey Loomis declined to make any official announcements about whether any veterans will be placed on the physically unable to perform list after they underwent their physicals and conditioning tests on Thursday.

But Payton compared Byrd's situation to that of second-year defensive tackle John Jenkins, who was placed on the PUP list earlier this week when the younger players reported to camp early for their conditioning tests in Metairie. Jenkins underwent minor pectoral surgery this summer and is also expected back soon.

Payton did, however, specify that receiver Joe Morgan is "a go" after Morgan missed all of organized team activities and minicamp this summer while still recovering from last year's knee surgery. Payton said Morgan has healed enough now to do everything, but it will just be a matter of the Saints deciding how quickly to bring him back up to speed.

Payton also addressed the injury that landed rookie offensive tackle Tavon Rooks on the non-football-injury list earlier this week. Payton said it was a minor back issue that he doesn't believe is significant and shouldn't keep Rooks off the field for long.

"Fortunately for us, that's not a big list right now," Payton said of the injuries. "And hopefully it can remain small."
New Orleans Saints defensive tackle John Jenkins and outside linebacker Cheta Ozougwu were placed on the PUP list (physically unable to perform) Monday. Rookie offensive tackle Tavon Rooks was placed on the non-football injury list and undrafted rookie defensive tackle Moses McCray was waived.

The injured players can come off of those lists at any time, so there is no indication of how long any of them will be sidelined.

The Saints have not revealed any details on any of the injuries, though the NFL Network reported this summer that Jenkins underwent a minor pectoral surgery. According to that report, Jenkins was expected to be healthy in time for training camp. It’s possible the Saints are just taking a cautious start with him.

Ozougwu was also sidelined with an unspecified injury during organized team activities. Rooks, a sixth-round draft pick from Kansas State, was healthy during OTAs. The nature of his injury is unknown.

It’s also worth noting that Saints safety Jairus Byrd and receiver Joe Morgan were not placed on the PUP list Monday after they were sidelined by injuries throughout OTAs and minicamp. It’s still possible that players could be added to the list this week, however, if they don’t pass physicals when they report to training camp on Thursday at The Greenbrier resort in West Virginia.

As I reported earlier Monday, Byrd’s recovery from minor back surgery has gone as expected this summer, according to a league source. He is expected to be healthy enough to participate in training camp, though it’s unknown if he will be limited when the Saints begin practicing on Friday.
New Orleans Saints left tackle Terron Armstead tweeted Monday night that he was headed in for “minor hand surgery” on Tuesday morning. Doesn’t sound like a big deal, especially considering his position. A lot of players undergo surgeries after the season that we never even find out about since they have ample time to recover before the start of offseason workouts.

I still expect Armstead to make that “Year 2 leap” that players and coaches often talk about. Armstead played very well in the playoffs after being thrust into the lineup for the first time in Week 16. And now the athletic 6-foot-5, 304-pounder from Arkansas-Pine Bluff should spend the entire offseason working with the starting unit as he continues to develop.
SEATTLE -- There were no surprises on the New Orleans Saints' official injury report Friday. Running back Pierre Thomas (chest) and defensive end Akiem Hicks (ankle) are listed as questionable after participating in Friday’s walk-through practice on a limited basis.

Cornerback Keenan Lewis (head/neck), guard Jahri Evans (ankle) and offensive tackle Terron Armstead (knee) are listed as probable after practicing fully on Friday.

It’s hard to predict whether Thomas and Hicks will play Saturday against the Seattle Seahawks. Thomas returned to practice Thursday on a limited basis for the first time since he suffered an unspecified chest injury in Week 17. Conventional wisdom would suggest the Saints won't rush him back since they have so much depth at the running back position -- and since running backs Mark Ingram, Darren Sproles and Khiry Robinson performed so well in Thomas' absence last week at Philadelphia. But when healthy, Thomas is a central part of the Saints' offense as a runner, receiver and pass protector.

Hicks was new to the injury report this week after playing at Philadelphia, so the severity of his injury is unknown. He was limited in practice all week. Hicks is a lot like Thomas, in that he has been an underrated part of the Saints' resurgence in the middle of the defense. But the Saints do have some trusted depth at all their line positions if Hicks is out or limited.

All of the guys listed as probable should play. Lewis and Armstead practiced fully all week. Evans was limited Wednesday before practicing fully Thursday and Friday.
METAIRIE, La. -- New Orleans Saints cornerback Keenan Lewis was back on the practice field Tuesday, and he insisted he will "definitely be out there" on Saturday against the Seattle Seahawks after leaving last Saturday's playoff victory over the Philadelphia Eagles early with a concussion.

The Saints were not required to release a practice report on Tuesday, so the team didn't offer any specifics on how much Lewis was able to participate. And Lewis declined to get into any specifics about whether he has passed through the league's concussion protocol.

Lewis just repeatedly insisted, "I'll be ready to go."

"It felt good having an opportunity to prepare for a big game like this," Lewis added, when asked about being able to get back on the practice field Tuesday.

Obviously, it will be huge for the Saints to get Lewis back in the lineup this week. He has played at an elite level as New Orleans' No. 1 cornerback all season long since signing as a free agent from the Pittsburgh Steelers. The long-armed, 6-foot-1, 208-pounder routinely goes against the opponents' top receiver in man coverage, and is a key reason why the Saints had the No. 2-ranked pass defense in the NFL this year.

Lewis, who had four interceptions this year, was arguably deserving of his first Pro Bowl nod, though he wasn't invited. Ironically, he probably earned more credit and national recognition than he has all season for leaving Saturday's game against the Eagles late in the third quarter. Up until that point, dynamic Eagles receiver DeSean Jackson hadn't caught a pass. After Lewis left, the Eagles completed a 40-yard pass to Jackson on the next play. And later, they gained 40 yards on a pass interference penalty when targeting Jackson.

Meanwhile, Lewis was seen on the sideline passionately arguing to come back into the game. But the doctors wouldn't allow it.

"It was definitely frustrating. When the game's on the line like that, you want to be out there, you know, any chance you can make a big play for your team. I just wanted to be out there to help my team win," said Lewis, who said he later heard from his mom that she didn't want to see so much passion from him on TV next time.

"My mom told me don't embarrass her like that no more, cursing on TV and stuff like that," Lewis said. "So if anything happens like that again, I'll just probably go sit down with my hood on my head or something."

Lewis said he did hear many Eagles fans booing while he was down on the field (presumably accusing him of faking the injury to stop the clock). He said that added even more motivation for him to try and get back in the game.

"I definitely wanted to go back in to show them," Lewis said. "They can cheer when they lose, too. So they're going home and we're moving on. But the fans never really bother me."

The Saints won't offer any other injury updates until Wednesday -- though they did announce that linebacker Parys Haralson was placed on injured reserve with the torn pectoral muscle he suffered against the Eagles.
METAIRIE, La. -- The New Orleans Saints placed linebacker Parys Haralson on injured reserve with a torn pectoral muscle and released backup safety Isa Abdul-Quddus on Tuesday. They officially announced the addition of veteran safety Jordan Pugh. And they also promoted rookie linebacker Rufus Johnson from the practice squad.

Haralson will be missed -- especially in run defense against the Seattle Seahawks. The veteran has been a solid addition as a part-time starter since the Saints acquired him in a preseason trade with the San Francisco 49ers, with 30 tackles and 3.5 sacks. Veteran Will Herring is his primary backup, though backup Ramon Humber could also see playing time. Or the Saints could spend more time in their three-safety package, which they feature often.

Abdul-Quddus has been a backup safety for three years, with four career starts, and a core special teams player. His role diminished this year with the emergence of young safeties like Kenny Vaccaro and Rafael Bush, and he was inactive the last two weeks.

Veteran safety Malcolm Jenkins said it was tough for Abdul-Quddus’ longtime teammates to see him go after he had been part of the “room” for so long. But Jenkins said everyone understands the business side of the game.

The Saints replaced Abdul-Quddus with Pugh, a fourth-year veteran who has played a similar role with the Washington Redskins and Carolina Panthers.

Johnson, a sixth-round pick from Tarleton State, showed impressive athleticism as a pass rusher in training camp. He could potentially contribute on special teams Saturday.

The Saints added linebacker Vic So'oto to the practice squad to replace Johnson.
METAIRIE, La. -- New Orleans Saints running back Pierre Thomas (chest) and safety Rafael Bush (ankle) were held out of practice with injuries on Wednesday. Everyone else fully participated.

Thomas is a new addition to the injury list. The severity of his injury -- or when it occurred -- is unknown. Thomas did not touch the ball in the fourth quarter of New Orleans’ 42-17 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last Sunday, but many starters hit the bench late in the game since the score was so lopsided.

It’s always possible that the Saints just wanted to give Thomas an extra day of rest on Wednesday, so his status could become a little clearer on Thursday and Friday.

Thomas would be a significant loss for the Saints. He has been one of their most reliable offensive weapons this year with a team-high 549 rushing yards, a career-high 77 receptions for 513 yards and five combined touchdowns. He also has an impressive history of producing for the Saints in cold-weather games like the one they’re expected to face Saturday night at Philadelphia. Earlier this week, the Chicago native said he loves playing in cold weather.

If Thomas is out or limited, however, the Saints do still have good depth at the running back position with Darren Sproles, Mark Ingram, impressive undrafted rookie Khiry Robinson and Travaris Cadet. Ingram has been playing terrific in small doses over the past three weeks with 108 rushing yards on 17 carries (6.4 yards per carry) and 49 receiving yards on four receptions.

Bush, meanwhile, would also be a significant loss for the Saints since they also lost rookie safety Kenny Vaccaro to a season-ending ankle injury last week. But it’s also unclear how severe his injury is. Bush has been dealing with the ankle injury for the past month. He missed three games, but he returned to the lineup last week against Tampa Bay as the Saints’ third safety behind starters Malcolm Jenkins and Roman Harper.
METAIRIE, La. – Everybody on the New Orleans Saints’ roster participated fully in Thursday’s practice – including starters Drew Brees, Marques Colston, Jahri Evans and Terron Armstead, who were limited on Wednesday.

Saints coach Sean Payton explained that the team decided to limit Brees’ snaps on Wednesday on account of his bruised right knee because “we just felt like we had a day to do that.”

Apparently the team took the same approach with a handful of players following a physical 17-13 loss at Carolina last week. Brees, Colston (back), Evans (knee) and Armstead (shoulder) all played through the entire game at Carolina.

Also upgraded from limited to full participation on Thursday were backup safety Rafael Bush (ankle) and backup linebackers Keyunta Dawson (calf) and Kevin Reddick (shoulder).

Of that group, Bush is the most important since he could see several snaps in nickel packages now that starting safety Kenny Vaccaro is out for the season with an ankle injury. Bush has been sidelined for the past three games, but he said he is optimistic about his progress.
METAIRIE, La. -- Quarterback Drew Brees was a surprise addition to the New Orleans Saints injury report on Wednesday when he was listed as limited with a knee injury for the first time all year. And he wasn’t the only big name added to the list in advance of Sunday’s game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Receiver Marques Colston (back), guard Jahri Evans (knee) and offensive tackle Terron Armstead (shoulder) were also listed as limited with new ailments.

It’s possible that none of these injuries are significant. Keep in mind that being “limited” in team drills during practice doesn’t usually keep a player out of the game. It would be a bigger concern if they were held out of practice completely. And all four of those starters played through the entire game in last Sunday’s 17-13 defeat at Carolina.

The injuries are a bit of mystery since the injury report came out after coach Sean Payton and players were available for interviews on Wednesday -- though it’s possible they wouldn’t have offered specifics even if asked, since injury information is often kept close to the vest.

We should get a little more detail on Thursday. But even if the players are limited all week in practice, I’d still expect all four of them to play Sunday.

The other three players limited in practice Wednesday were backups -- safety Rafael Bush (ankle), linebacker Keyunta Dawson (calf) and linebacker Kevin Reddick (shoulder). Bush and Dawson have been on the injury list for several weeks. The Saints would like to get Bush back on Sunday for added depth after losing starting safety Kenny Vaccaro to a season-ending fractured ankle last Sunday. Fellow safety Malcolm Jenkins said he's optimistic that Bush is getting closer to playing this week.
METAIRIE, La. -- The New Orleans Saints signed cornerback Terrence Frederick off of the Cleveland Browns practice squad Wednesday and officially placed safety Kenny Vaccaro on season-ending injured reserve.

Frederick, 23, played in two games as a rookie last year with the New York Giants, making two tackles. He began his career as a seventh-round draft pick of the Pittsburgh Steelers out of Texas A&M last year. But he was released after the preseason and caught on with the Giants’ practice squad.

This year, he was released by the Giants after the preseason and added to Cleveland's practice squad.

Frederick (5-foot-10, 187 pounds) will add some depth to a secondary that has had a lot of moving parts recently. Over the past month, the Saints lost Vaccaro and starting cornerback Jabari Greer to season-ending injuries and released veteran backup Chris Carr. They have signed Frederick, second-year cornerback Trevin Wade and safety Eric Frampton (mainly to help on special teams).

Here’s the Saints’ depth chart in the secondary now:

Safety -- Malcolm Jenkins, Roman Harper, Rafael Bush, Isa Abdul-Quddus, Eric Frampton

Cornerback -- Keenan Lewis, Corey White, Rod Sweeting, Trevin Wade, Terrence Frederick

Saints injuries: Rafael Bush doubtful

December, 20, 2013
METAIRIE, La. -- There are no surprises on the New Orleans Saints' official injury report heading into Sunday’s game at the Carolina Panthers. Backup safety Rafael Bush (ankle) was the only one to miss practice throughout the week, and he is officially listed as doubtful.

Linebacker Keyunta Dawson (calf) and tight end Josh Hill (hamstring) are listed as questionable after being limited during the week. Safety Roman Harper is no longer listed on the injury report after being limited by a hip injury on Wednesday.

Running back Travaris Cadet also missed practice Friday for non-injury reasons and is listed as probable.

Obviously that’s a great injury report for a team this late in the season. The Saints will have every starter full-go for Sunday’s game.

Saints injury list continues to shrink

December, 19, 2013
METAIRIE, La. -- The New Orleans Saints' injury list got even shorter on Thursday, with safety Roman Harper (hip) returning to full participation in practice. And there are no starters on the list as they head into Sunday’s game at the Carolina Panthers.

Only one player has missed practice this week -- safety Rafael Bush (ankle). Linebacker Keyunta Dawson (calf) and tight end Josh Hill (hamstring) have been limited in practice this week. Everyone else has fully participated.

CB Jabari Greer on road to recovery

December, 19, 2013
METAIRIE, La. - New Orleans Saints cornerback Jabari Greer is one month into recovery from his season-ending knee injury. He's starting to walk now without crutches and move into the next stage of his rehab.

"Another small victory," said Greer, who tore his anterior cruciate ligament among other unspecified injuries to the leg. "By the end of the month, I'm looking to be able to skip."

Saints injury list: short and sweet

December, 18, 2013
METAIRIE, La. -- The New Orleans Saints are coming off of their most disappointing loss of the season at St. Louis last Sunday. But at least they have their health.

Only one player missed practice for the Saints on Wednesday: backup safety Rafael Bush (ankle). Three others were limited -- safety Roman Harper (hip), linebacker Keyunta Dawson (calf) and tight end Josh Hill (hamstring).

That means every starter should be fully healthy for a critical Week 16 showdown at the Carolina Panthers.