New Orleans Saints quarterback Jameis Winston (foot) returns to 7-on-7 drills at practice

NEW ORLEANS -- New Orleans Saints quarterback Jameis Winston returned to 7-on-7 drills during practice Sunday, marking a significant step toward his return from a foot injury.

Winston sprained his right foot during the Saints' practice Aug. 8. The injury occurred while he was rolling out during a 7-on-7 drill and caused him to miss the team's first two preseason games.

He returned to practice last week during joint sessions in Green Bay, but he did not do any drills against the Packers. He went through walkthrough and did some individual drills against teammates.

Winston saw significant reps in the 7-on-7 period during the Saints' Sunday practice, which was held at the Caesars Superdome in front of fans.

"That was good," Saints coach Dennis Allen said. "Obviously we'll go back and take a look at the tape, see what it looked like, but it's part of the natural progression. I'm hopeful we'll begin to get him into team work this week and see where he's at."

Winston was still sporting the brace he'll wear as a result of last year's ACL tear, and had both of his feet heavily taped, but was able to move around normally. He completed passes to Jarvis Landry, Alvin Kamara, Deonte Harty, Marquez Callaway and Kawaan Baker during the session, and also had a touchdown throw to rookie Dai'Jean Dixon. He had an incompletion while targeting rookie Chris Olave and was picked off by linebacker Demario Davis, who ran it back for a touchdown.

Wide receiver Michael Thomas was not at practice Sunday while he deals with "a little bit of a hamstring," according to Allen. Thomas has not participated in preseason games as he recovers from the ankle injury that kept him out last season, but he's been a full participant in practice the past few weeks.

Tight ends Taysom Hill and Adam Trautman, offensive linemen James Hurst, Cesar Ruiz and Landon Young and linebacker Pete Werner were among those who also missed practice.