Saints WR Brandin Cooks sidelined by minor injury

WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.Va. – Receiver Brandin Cooks and cornerback Keenan Lewis were both absent from New Orleans Saints practice on Thursday, but it doesn’t sound as if either player is dealing with a significant issue.

Coach Sean Payton declined to discuss Cooks’ injury, saying he won’t discuss daily injuries in training camp. But a league source said Cooks was just sitting out as a precaution. The third-year receiver appeared to get dinged late in Wednesday’s practice, but did not leave the field with trainers.

Obviously the Saints need a healthy Cooks this season, as the former first-round pick emerged as their top playmaker last year.

As for Lewis, he just practiced for the first time on Wednesday after starting training camp on the physically-unable-to-perform list. The Saints have been taking a cautious approach to Lewis’ rehab from a lingering hip injury that required multiple surgeries last season.

When asked if Lewis’ absence was a scheduled day off or a setback, Payton said, “No, no setback. It’s just the schedule, the way we’re operating right now.”

Backup cornerback Damian Swann also missed practice; he watched from the sideline with an unspecified ailment. That allowed second-year pro P.J. Williams and undrafted rookies Ken Crawley and De’Vante Harris, among others, to play more valuable snaps. All three of those young DBs have had a strong camp so far.