Fans of the New Orleans Saints witnessed a freak occurrence Sunday when on the teams fourth offensive play tight end Jimmy Graham, escorted by Buccaneer defenders, was tackled out of bounds and shoved violently into head coach Sean Payton.
The replay showed Payton’s left leg bent inwards at an akward angle, and it was clear he was in severe pain given the grimace across his face.
At the time no one knew the extent of his injury. He was put into a brace, and sat on the bench where he continued to coach the Saints offense until just before the half.
In the locker room an X-Ray revealed that Payton suffered a torn MCL ligament and a fractured tibia. He had hoped to coach the second half from the coaches box, but the pain and break was ultimately too much to overcome.
Payton would spend the remainder of the game watching from a TV inside the locker room, and he couldn’t have liked what he saw as the Saints loss 26-20 after a day filled with errors on both sides of the ball.
But analyzing the tape will have to wait for another day. Today Payton had emergency surgery to repair the ligament and stabilize the fractured bone — the procedure is likely done — but as of yet no official word has been given on his status.
The Saints have release a statement as of 11:00 am central time confirming that Payton’s 3-hour surgery went well and he is recovering at the hospital. He well be kept over night for observation and his “full’ recovery is expected to take 3 to 6 months.
Payton wasn’t the only coach to get hurt during this game as ironically Buccaneers defensive backs coach Jimmy Lake was also injured.
During his celebration of safety Tanard Jackson’s interception of Drew Brees he tore the patellar tendon in his knee. In his case surgery will be postponed until Tampa’s bye week after their London match-up with the Chicago Bears this Sunday.