On the same day news broke that the Saints will be without one of their cornerbacks for another four to six weeks, New Orleans got another one back in action.
First-round draft pick Marshon Lattimore, who suffered a sprained knee at the end of the first week of training camp, was back on the practice field Wednesday, participating in full-team action for the first time since the injury.
New Orleans believes Lattimore's chances of playing in Sunday's preseason game at the Los Angeles Chargers are strong.
"Hopefully, pretty good," coach Sean Payton said. "We've got to be smart with regards to a pitch count, how many plays, but we're optimistic that he's going to be able to play."
Lattimore has been working his way back for the better part of a week, and the Saints have fully cleared him, although the team still plans to be careful with how quickly it brings him back to full action.
"We would probably list him as limited, just because he's re-entering, coming back without having played in a week and a half," Payton said. "But his rehab's gone well, and he'll get work this week and in the game."
If Lattimore can pick up where he left off and build on it during the rest of the preseason, the rookie's presence would go a long way toward solidifying a position that is down a key man after Delvin Breaux's injury, revealed Wednesday to be a fractured fibula that requires surgery.
Lattimore flashed some of his man-to-man cover skills early in camp before the injury; with Breaux sidelined for at least another month, the rookie's development will be pivotal for a cornerback group currently led by P.J. Williams and Ken Crawley.
"We've all got to step it up a notch," Williams said of Breaux's injury. "He's a big part of the defense. We've all got to step it up for him and for the defense."