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Wednesday, September 18, 2013
Saints' injuries: Evans, Ingram, Harper

By Mike Triplett

METAIRIE, La. -- Guard Jahri Evans, tailback Mark Ingram and safety Roman Harper were new additions to the Saints’ injury list on Wednesday. All were held out of team drills -- Ingram with a toe injury, Evans with a hamstring injury and Harper with a knee injury.

The Saints don’t offer any specifics on the team’s injuries, so it’s hard to predict whether any of those players are in jeopardy of missing Sunday’s game against the Arizona Cardinals. Ingram was suited up for practice and participated in the team stretch but didn’t fully participate during the portion that’s open to the media.

Of the three, Evans would be the hardest for the Saints to replace. Not only is he a perennial All-Pro and the foundation of the Saints’ line, but his primary backup is undrafted rookie Tim Lelito. Lelito had a solid preseason performance but is obviously still raw. Evans appeared to be dealing with a hamstring or thigh injury during last Sunday’s game at Tampa Bay and had it wrapped on the sideline, but he finished the game.

The Saints are deeper at the running back and safety positions. They can rely heavily on tailbacks Pierre Thomas and Darren Sproles – and possibly young backups Khiry Robinson and Travaris Cadet, if needed. Even before Ingram’s injury crept up, he was already in jeopardy of losing some snaps based on his lackluster production so far this season (which I’ll discuss further in an analysis later this afternoon).

Harper has been solid so far this season, and he would be missed if he was out for an extended period. But he has ranked third in snaps at the safety position behind Malcolm Jenkins and rookie Kenny Vaccaro. The Saints also like backup safety Rafael Bush and can get creative with how they move the parts around in their secondary. Their depth will be even stronger when they get backup safety Isa Abdul-Quddus back in the lineup, though he was also held out of Wednesday’s team drills with an ankle injury.

Also missing team drills Wednesday were defensive linemen Brodrick Bunkley (calf), Tom Johnson (hamstring) and Glenn Foster (ankle). Obviously the Saints are very thin on the defensive line – but what’s new?

They’ve been dealing with the problem all season so far and have so far risen to the challenge, thanks in large part to breakout young ends Cameron Jordan and Akiem Hicks. Rookie John Jenkins has also been solid so far as Bunkley’s primary replacement since he went down early in Week 1. And it looks like young backups Tyrunn Walker and Foster are getting closer to returning to the field. Walker, who suffered a knee injury in Week 1, participated in Wednesday’s practice on a limited basis.