METAIRIE, La. -- As usual, the New Orleans Saints had a mix of good news and bad news on their injury report Wednesday.
Three defensive starters were held out of practice -- linebacker Curtis Lofton (hamstring/ankle), safety Kenny Vaccaro (concussion) and defensive end Akiem Hicks (back). Tight end Benjamin Watson was also held out after suffering a concussion in last Sunday’s 49-17 victory over the Dallas Cowboys.
However, two of the Saints’ top players, tight end Jimmy Graham and defensive end Cameron Jordan, practiced on a limited basis. That’s a good sign, since both players were held out of practice at this time last week.
I wrote earlier this week about how Graham and the Saints are trying to manage his snap count while he recovers from foot and ankle injuries. Obviously he has still been able to produce at a high level despite those limitations.
Jordan, too, has been fighting through a nagging ankle injury since Week 6. But he got an unexpected break last Sunday when he only needed to play 33 snaps in the rout over the Cowboys. The entire Saints defense played only 45 snaps in the game.
“I think it felt like he made progress this past week without playing X number of snaps and setting it back,” Saints coach Sean Payton said. “I think he felt afterwards a lot further along, and I think it is getting real close to where it is not going to impact how he plays. And I think he felt pretty good coming off this game with the snap count.”
As for the four players held out of practice Wednesday, it’s too early to predict whether they will be able to play this coming Sunday against the San Francisco 49ers. Vaccaro and Watson appear to be in the most jeopardy of missing the game after suffering concussions on Sunday. Vaccaro originally declared himself out on Monday morning before backtracking Wednesday and saying it hasn’t been determined yet.
Lofton played through his injuries last week. It’s unclear if Hicks’ injury occurred during last week’s game or afterward.