Byrd ready to fly after back surgery _lowres

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON-- Newly signed New Orleans Saints safety Jairus Byrd answers questions from reporters from Harahan Elementary School in Harahan, La. Wednesday, April 16, 2014.

WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, West Virginia -- Jairus Byrd is close to stepping in on the New Orleans Saints’ defense. He just isn’t quite ready following March back surgery.

The team announced Friday afternoon that Byrd has been placed on the physically unable to perform list and once again reiterated that he will be back “sooner than later.”

“We’ll work day to day with him,” head coach Sean Payton said. “I think the good news is that it’s going to be sooner than later. I don’t want to put a time on it, but his progress is ahead of schedule. ... We’re still just getting it to where we feel it is 100 percent. Clearly, before we leave here, he’ll be back on the roster.”

From an outside perspective, it appears that Byrd is getting close to full strength. He ran during Friday’s practice at about three-quarters speed and individually went through some positional drills, which included him turning his hips and getting up field.

While on the physically unable to perform list, Byrd is not allowed to go through team drills. He can be activated at any point during training camp or the preseason.

In other injury news, wide receiver Kenny Stills pulled up lame with a right quad injury while running down the left sideline after a Drew Brees pass. Payton said he does not believe the injury is serious and that Stills has been dealing with it for a few weeks.