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New Orleans Saints: Crowded running back group clouds future of Chris Ivory

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Saints running back Chris Ivory (Source: nflhuddle.com)

Saints fans were hopeful that running back Chris Ivory would have an even better season in 2011 then he did in 2010. As a rookie Ivory exploded in the Saints offense after being forced into action once Pierre Thomas and Reggie Bush were lost to injury.

He rushed for a team high 716 yards in twelve games before his season ending injury during the last regular season game against the Buccaneers.

Ivory found the end zone five times also, but more impressively was among the league leaders for running backs in yards after contact, twenty yard runs, and yards per carry with 5.2.

Saints fans that had been long starved of a true power running back, since the hay-day of Deuce McAllister, finally had their man in Ivory. All signs pointed up for the undrafted free agent out of Tiffin, now all he had to do was heal.

In the off-season Ivory underwent Lisfranc surgery to repair torn tendons between many of the tiny bones in the top of the foot. His recovery was always expected to run well into training camp, but the healing may be taking longer then expected.

Ivory also recently underwent sports hernia surgery that only pushes back his return to the field. Its’ doubtful he will be ready to return by week one.

He has yet to pass his physical with the Saints, which of course means he has put in zero practice time with his fellow teammates. Meanwhile Pierre Thomas, Darren Sproles, and rookie Mark Ingram are running away from the pack.

Running back’s Joique Bell and Chris Taylor are also showcasing some elite ability and both have flashed at times in training camp. Bell specifically has looked good, and was the Saints leading rusher against the 49ers with 52 yards on nine carries.

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