Bush worked out in the Louisiana Superdome before the game, then huddled with coaches, trainers and doctors before the decision was made to rest the star running back and punt returner.
This marks the eighth game Bush has missed since fracturing a bone in his lower right leg in Week 2 at San Francisco. The Saints play next at Dallas on Thanksgiving Day.
Bush practiced extensively this week and said he expected to play on Friday. Coach Sean Payton also said Friday that he was optimistic about Bush's chances to return from a broken leg he suffered in Week 2.
Fellow running back Pierre Thomas was also inactive, as expected.
Thomas has not played since Week 3 and a league source told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter that Thomas tore a tendon in his ankle and in hindsight might have been better served had he undergone surgery to correct it.
There's a chance Thomas could be ready for the Cowboys game, the source said.
Julius Jones, who signed with the Saints on Oct. 12, started at running back for New Orleans.
New Orleans also scratched starting free safety Malcolm Jenkins, who'd been questionable with a pinched nerve in his neck.
Information from The Associated Press contributed to this report.