Saints place RB C.J. Spiller on injured reserve

METAIRIE, La. -- The New Orleans Saints officially ended running back C.J. Spiller's season on Wednesday, placing him on injured reserve.

Although on Sunday coach Sean Payton described Spiller as “healthy,” the team decided to make him inactive because he was “still fighting to get the strength back” following an arthroscopic knee surgery from the preseason.

Payton said that was the main reason for Spiller’s lack of involvement this season, after signing a four-year, $16 million contract in free agency.

Spiller, 28, had a total of 112 rushing yards, 239 receiving yards and two touchdowns in 13 games played.

Payton said Sunday that the Saints never saw the same burst from Spiller after the injury. And he said he talked with Spiller and told him to focus on next season.

That future seems up in the air after this season. However, the Saints don’t have much financial incentive to release him, since his $1.55 million roster bonus is fully guaranteed. They could only save his $1.7 million base salary if they cut him before that also becomes fully guaranteed in March. And Spiller would still count for a total of $5.3 million in dead money.

The Saints replaced Spiller on the roster by promoting second-year tight end RaShaun Allen from the practice squad.

Seven other Saints missed practice with injuries on Wednesday: QB Drew Brees (foot), OT Terron Armstead (knee), OT Andrus Peat (concussion), WR Marques Colston (chest), DE Cameron Jordan (back), S Jairus Byrd (knee) and LB Dannell Ellerbe (hip).

Brees is expected to play Sunday at the Atlanta Falcons since he played through his torn plantar fascia last week and said he feels like he is further ahead than he was last week.

It’s too early in the week to predict the status of the others on the list.