Keenan Lewis’ season has come to an end.
The Saints cornerback was placed on injured reserve on Thursday, bringing an end to a season that has been defined by frustration and false starts.
Lewis has battled a number of injuries this season. He underwent surgery during training camp to repair a sports hernia, which was slow to heal, and then suffered a knee injury against the Washington Redskins after colliding with wide receiver DeSean Jackson.
The Saints signed cornerback Chris Owens to take Lewis’ place on the roster.
The move is a bit of a surprise since coach Sean Payton said during an appearance on WWL radio last week that Lewis avoided major injury and should be able to heal through rehab.
The team will move forward as it has all season, with Delvin Breaux and Brandon Browner serving as the top cornerbacks. Kyle Wilson, Brian Dixon, Owens and Damian Swann will serve as depth.
Following the game against Washington, Lewis sat at his locker and appeared dejected. He voiced his frustration and admitted that he’s never gone through a season like this.
“I guess it’s one of those years where you’re trying to fight for your team but your body won’t allow you to do it,” Lewis said. “It’s tough, man. I’m trying to get out of this slump that I’m in body-wise.
“It ain’t nothing I ain’t seen out there. I feel like I can play with the best of them. My body won’t allow me to.”
Lewis appeared in six games this season and played 106 of 681 snaps on defense. He logged six tackles and two passes defensed, primarily serving in nickel and dime packages.
Despite his best efforts, Lewis struggled to get started this season.
His initial procedure , which was performed on Sept. 1, was supposed to keep him out 4-6 weeks. He managed to return for an Oct. 4 game against the Dallas Cowboys, but played only 18 snaps.
He then played 25 against the Philadelphia Eagles the next week. His role diminished against the Atlanta Falcons during a Thursday night game and he then traveled to see a hip specialist after playing just eight snaps.
Lewis then missed a game against the Indianapolis Colts, but returned to play against the New York Giants (27 snaps), Tennessee Titans (13 snaps), and Washington (15 snaps).
Prior to injuring his knee, Lewis voiced optimism about how his hip was healing.
He had recently begun traveling to Lafayette to work with a therapist who specializes in muscle activation techniques and felt positive about the results.
Lewis said he learned about the therapy after reading about Peyton Manning using it to help him recover from a neck injury.
“Whatever the technique he’s doing, MAT, it’s definitely been helping me out a lot,” Lewis said. “I’ve also been working with our trainers.”
Lewis’ injury is the latest hit to the cornerback position. Prior to the season the team placed third-round pick P.J. Williams on injured reserve and Swann has been out of action recently after suffering his second concussion of the season.
The team should have better depth there next season, but cornerback was supposed to a position of strength this season and things didn’t work out as planned.
Now the Saints will have to push forward without the hope of Lewis returning.