METAIRIE, La. – Guard Jahri Evans (hip) and safety Malcolm Jenkins (knee) were held out of team drills again on Thursday, jeopardizing their chances of playing Sunday against the New York Jets. However, the rest of the injury report is looking healthier.
Everyone else practiced in some capacity, including receiver Marques Colston, who returned on a limited basis with a knee injury.
Evans took part in the team’s stretching period before leaving the practice field Thursday, which leaves open some room for optimism. It will be telling to see whether he’s able to practice Friday.
Obviously the four-time All-Pro guard will be missed if he can’t play against the Jets. The Jets have one of the NFL’s best defensive fronts this season and rank first in the league against the run. The Saints struggled earlier this year when Evans was held out of a game with a hamstring injury and was replaced by undrafted rookie Tim Lelito. Lelito has a little more experience now, though.
If Jenkins can’t play, it’s possible the Saints could turn back to veteran safety Roman Harper to help fill the void. Harper has returned to practice on a limited basis this week for the first time since Week 2. Harper didn’t specify the nature of his knee injury, and he wouldn’t say whether he feels ready to play yet. But he did say it has been good to be back on the practice field this week. And he’s eager to try and pick up where he left off with a good start in Weeks 1 and 2.
Harper said he has felt like he’s missing out while his teammates have been making so many big plays over the past five games without him. But he said he doesn’t mind letting guys like Jenkins and rookie Kenny Vaccaro steal away some of the sacks that used to be his trademark.
“We can share them. There’s enough to go around,” Harper said. “I just want to continue to make plays, whether it’s sacks, tackles for loss, interceptions -- I'm just trying to do my little part.
“And we’ve just gotta continue to compete, don’t get complacent. Understand the grind is long and we’re just getting started.”
A total of seven players were limited in Thursday’s practice -- Colston, Harper, tight end Jimmy Graham (foot), Vaccaro (concussion/back) and defensive linemen Cameron Jordan (ankle), Tyrunn Walker (knee) and Tom Johnson (hip).