Pro-Bowl left tackle Jammal Brown may be out longer than the Saints would like after having surgery to repair a sports hernia injury, the same type of injury that hobbled Jeremy Shockey for much of the 2008 season.
Brown was the selected with the Saints 13th pick in the 2005 draft after widely being considered the best offensive lineman in that years crop of incoming rookies.
Brown has started 58 games for the Saints since 2005 making two Pro-Bowls in that span, one in 2006 and again in 2009.
The Saints hold on to the hope that Brown will be available to start at Detroit week one, although it seems like a very remote possibility.
A sports hernia carries a six week recovery time at minimum which places Brown’s return to the football field in week three of the regular season.
Any sooner and the Saints run the risk of re-aggravating the injury, sidelining Brown for even longer.
Browns return may be delayed until week six, after the teams bye-week.
In his place the team has decided to move forward with reserve OL Jermon Bushr0d, the Saints fourth round pick in the 2007 draft.
Bushrod had never officially started a regular season game, but did get the nod to start in the week two pre-season game against the Houston Texans.
Brown lined up against perhaps one of the NFL’s best up and coming pass-rushers in Mario Williams.
Bushrod, after a shaky start, fared admirably against Williams in the 38-14 victory, which helped ease the fan’s and coaches anxiety that he would collapse under continued pressure from Williams.
It’s unclear at this point if Bushrod will continue to run with the first team offense into the regular season or if top backup Zach Strief will take over duties when fully healed from his strained knee.
In the meantime Bushrod wants to make the most of his chance to prove that he can take the next step in his NFL career, and spoke briefly on his game against Williams.
“I was anxious right up until that first step,” said Bushrod, “Then after that you just try to do your job. I did some good things, but there are definitely some things I need to work on. But this is definitely going to help me become a better player. You got to really be on your game just to hold up against a guy like Williams. He’s a great player.”
“I’m just blessed to have the opportunity to step in and play until Jammal comes back,” Bushrod said. “We’re all family here. We’ll do whatever it takes to help the team and help each other.”
Bushrod will be the starter going into the Saints next game against Oakland this Saturday.
The coaches will have ample time to assess Bushrod as both the first team offense and defense will see extended playing time against the Raiders in preparation for the season opener September 13th.
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