METAIRIE - Through nearly three weeks of training camp practices, the New Orleans Saints’ injury list has been pretty manageable for Sean Payton and his coaching staff.
Until Wednesday, that is.
Sixteen of the 90 players on the roster did not participate in a 2-1/2-hour workout in the team’s indoor practice facility. It was easily the longest injury report Payton has had to rattle off in his post-practice meeting with reporters this summer.
“It seems like in the last two or three days (the list) has gotten bigger,” Payton said. “You’re at that point in camp where you’re hoping to get these things treated and get these guys back on the field.
“For a number of guys, it’s critical that they’re back out here. That being said, we’re still being smart about it.”
Three starters - cornerback Tracy Porter, guard Jahri Evans and free safety Malcolm Jenkins - were among the players who didn’t work. Payton said all three had minor knee issues and were held out as a precaution.
“I would say this is pretty standard right about now,” Payton said. “I always get on (trainer) Scottie (Patton) when it gets to two pages in our evening meetings. We’re at two pages, so I like it better when it’s just a page.”
Payton said Porter, who practiced just three times after coming off the injury list on Sunday following offseason surgery on his left knee, did not have a setback in his workouts.
Still, Payton said the thought was to back him off Wednesday. At the same time, Payton said he doesn’t know if he’ll let Porter dress out for Saturday night’s preseason game against the Houston Texans in Reliant Stadium.
“He’s on schedule with no setbacks,” Payton reiterated.
Payton is hoping to get Evans, who had some swelling in his knee Wednesday, and Jenkins, who sat out two practices after tweaking his knee in practice on Monday, to return soon.
In addition to Porter, Evans and Jenkins, not working were RB Chris Ivory (foot/sports hernia), TE Tory Humphrey (knee), CB Leigh Torrence (hip), WR Courtney Roby (elbow), DE Jeff Charleston (ankle), LB Clint Ingram (hamstring), RB Joique Bell (knee), T Alex Barron (knee), CB Johnny Patrick (knee), LB Ezra Butler (hamstring/sports hernia), DT Tom Johnson (calf), LB Ramon Humber (quadriceps) and DE Greg Romeus (knee).
Payton said Ivory, Romeus, Barron, Butler, Humber, Ingram, Bell, Johnson and Patrick won’t play against the Texans and they’ll monitor Charleston and Humphrey to see how they’re doing before deciding if they’ll play.
With Evans sidelined, center/guard Matt Tennant and guard Brian de la Puente split the first-team repetitions at right guard with each player getting the snaps in two of the four team periods.
After veteran Chris Reis replaced Jenkins with the first-team defense on Tuesday, Paul Oliver got a chance to show what he could do Wednesday at free safety. Oliver signed with the Saints two weeks ago as an unrestricted free agent.
Patrick Robinson again worked with the first team in Porter’s right cornerback spot as he has done for most of training camp.
Backup strong safety Pierson Prioleau, a 188-pounder, knocked 338-pound tackle George Foster off his feet as Foster tried to get into position to block for Darren Sproles on a sweep during team drills. ? Also during team drills, cornerback Jabari Greer jumped a pass route and intercepted a Drew Brees pass intended for Devery Henderson. ? Rookie linebacker Nate Bussey didn’t buy a play-action fake by backup quarterback Chase Daniel and intercepted a pass intended for Adrian Arrington.