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NEW ORLEANS -- New Orleans Saints tight end Jimmy Graham technically was limited in his return from a foot injury in Sunday's 35-17 victory over the Buffalo Bills.
But that depends on the definition of the term "limited."
|Despite battling a painful foot injury, Jimmy Graham had two touchdown catches Sunday against Buffalo.|
Graham still caught three passes for 37 yards and two touchdowns while playing less than 20 snaps because of a partially torn plantar fascia.
His second touchdown -- a 13-yarder in the third quarter -- came on his only snap in the second half.
"It's gonna hurt. But football hurts. That's just how it is," Graham said. "It's just, 'How much pain can you endure?' And you know, I'm pretty good at that."
According to both Graham and Saints coach Sean Payton, there is not a serious risk of suffering further injury if he continues to play. It's a matter of pain management -- which is pretty significant with a partially torn plantar fascia.
In some cases, it's actually even better for a plantar fascia to tear completely if the tear is significant enough. But Graham didn't specify if that is the case with him.
"I mean, that's an oxymoron, right?" Graham said. "I've heard a couple different things by a couple different doctors. I've talked to a lot of people, and I'm not sure. I guess we'll see.
"You know me, it doesn't matter how I feel. I'm very competitive, and I want as many opportunities as I can get to help this team. But I'm just gonna do what (Payton) asks me to do and what my body allows me to do, and I'm just gonna take it day by day."
The Saints didn't make the final decision to play Graham on Sunday until they watched him run and cut on the foot in a pregame workout.
Graham was mostly limited to red-zone snaps. He also played throughout a hurry-up drive late in the second quarter, which ended with his first touchdown catch -- a 15-yarder that put the Saints up 21-10.
Graham's second touchdown catch put the Saints up 28-10, which made New Orleans' decision to keep him off the field for the rest of the game easier.
Graham, a former college basketball player, even had to make an adjustment to his trademark touchdown celebrations after his touchdowns -- dunking the ball over the goalpost. But true to form, Graham didn't let the injury stop him.
"I still dunked it. But I dunked off my right foot, because I can do both," said Graham, who now has eight touchdown catches this season. "So this time I just jumped off the right foot and dunked with the left. There will never be a moment I won't dunk it."