Saints coach Sean Payton said Thursday that he is still optimistic about the possibility of Jimmy Graham playing this week.

We now know why.

The tight end returned to practice in a limited capacity Thursday after sitting out Wednesday’s session with a shoulder injury. It has previously been reported that Graham would miss 2-3 weeks with the injury.

Graham was dressed during the open portion of practice and went through positional drills. He did not appear to engage in heavy contact.

Cornerback Keenan Lewis (toe), linebacker Ronald Powell (illness) and running back Pierre Thomas (illness) were new additions to the list and did not take part in practice. Linebackers Ramon Humber (ankle) and Kyle Knox (ankle) and cornerback Patrick Robinson (hamstring) also missed practice.

Center Jonathan Goodwin (knee), running back Mark Ingram (hand), and fullback Erik Lorig (ankle) were full participants.