Saints' Keenan Lewis leaves practice early, Jairus Byrd still not back

Keenan Lewis missing from the final portion of practice Wednesday. Andrew Weber/USA TODAY Sports

WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.Va. – Cornerback Keenan Lewis and receiver Brandon Coleman both were missing from the field during the last hour of New Orleans Saints practice Wednesday. It’s unclear why, as nobody reported them them leaving the field and coach Sean Payton doesn’t give injury updates this time of year.

UPDATED: Both remained missing during the Saints' afternoon walk-through. Cornerback Delvin Breaux was a new addition to the list of absentees in the afternoon.

Perhaps it’s something minor – as appears to be the case with left tackle Terron Armstead, who left under similar circumstances Monday. Armstead was back in full pads after Tuesday's off-day and participated in walk-through sessions, though he sat out during team and individual drills.

The Saints’ injury list is starting to grow a bit one week into camp, though. And there’s a pretty good collection of talent on the list – starting with safety Jairus Byrd, who is again missing a large chunk of time with an undisclosed ailment.

“I think he’s progressing well,” Payton said of Byrd – though he declined to specify Byrd’s injury or whether it is related to the knee injury that landed Byrd on injured reserve last year. “I think sooner than later, we’re gonna get a chance to see him. But at the same time, we’re gonna be smart.”

Byrd, 28, participated in most of the Saints’ OTAs and minicamp this summer. So he was there with his teammates for the first round of installations. And he’s been around this week for film reviews and occasionally shadows the defensive starters during walk-through sessions.

However, we saw the harmful effects of Byrd missing a large chunk of time with his new team last summer – when back surgery sidelined him for all of OTAs and minicamp and limited him for the first few weeks of training camp.

Byrd acknowledged later that he missed that valuable time to get on the same page with new teammates and a new system. And the secondary was a mess early in the season because of assignment and alignment issues.

The Saints are intent on building more chemistry on the back end of their defense this year. The good news is that they’ve simplified the scheme, so players can play faster without having to make as many checks and shifts before the snap. But they’d still prefer to have all hands on deck for most of the preseason.

Some other injury updates: Receiver Marques Colston remained dressed but limited, which has been typical for him for several days now. Tight end Josh Hill and linebackers Anthony Spencer and Dannell Ellerbe remained out as they watched from the sideline in shorts. Rookie cornerback P.J. Williams wasn’t spotted on the field for the second straight practice. Fellow rookie corner Damian Swann was new to the injury list as he watched from the side.