The New Orleans Saints received encouraging news Thursday on the possibility of having cornerback Tracy Porter for Sunday’s game against the Atlanta Falcons when the four-year veteran returned to practice.
Porter, who suffered a neck injury in Sunday’s 27-16 victory over Tampa Bay, had limited participation Thursday after being held out of Wednesday’s practice.
Saints coach Sean Payton offered no other details about having Porter, who still had some neck and chest soreness earlier this week, back for the key NFC South matchup against the Falcons and dangerous wide receivers Roddy White and Julio Jones.
Payton will issue the final injury report on Friday and list the playing status of each player on the report.
Robinson still out
While the secondary got Porter back Thursday, cornerback Patrick Robinson remained out with stomach pains. When asked about the second-year pro, Payton said the team will continue to list Robinson’s ailment as stomach even though Payton said Wednesday it wasn’t a stomach virus.
“Fortunately, all the tests that we took were (negative), and yet, it’s still something that we have to be smart about,” Payton said.
Middle linebacker Jonathan Vilma (knee), defensive end Turk McBride (ankle) and wide receiver Lance Moore (hamstring) also did not practice.
Payton said Moore’s hamstring was a little tight before the individual periods and was held out as a precaution.
Running backs Mark Ingram (heel) and Chris Ivory (hamstring) were limited along with Porter. Tackle Jermon Bushrod, who did not practice Wednesday because of a stomach virus, had full participation Thursday.
Even though Ingram and Ivory have been limited all week, Payton said he did not envision having just two running backs available on Sunday - which means either Ingram or Ivory (or both) will be ready with Pierre Thomas and Darren Sproles.
For the second straight week, Saints tight end Jimmy Graham has been chosen to a prominent midseason All-Pro team. Last week, Graham and guard Carl Nicks were named to the team selected by Sports Illustrated writer Peter King.
This time, Graham, who has 55 catches for 791 yards and five touchdowns, was chosen to the Midseason All-Pro team picked by Pro Football Weekly in the Nov. 13 edition now available on newsstands.
Three former LSU standouts were also named to the team as tackle Andrew Whitworth (Cincinnati), cornerback Corey Webster (New York Giants) and punt returner Patrick Peterson (Arizona) were honored as well.
Louisiana natives - Baltimore safety Ed Reed and New York Jets kick returner Joe McKnight - were also on the team. Reed and Graham were unanimous picks.
By the numbers
44 - First downs this season for Graham on his 55 catches. The second-year pro is tied for fifth in the NFL in first downs and is tied for second among receivers as the top four players on that list are running backs.
Under Payton, the Saints have posted a 4-1 record in the last game before their bye week, which begins after Sunday’s game with the Falcons. They’ve won their last three and the only loss came in 2007 when they dropped a 31-14 loss to the Titans.