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New Orleans Saints: Chris Ivory to make 2011 debut, but role likely limited


Head coach Sean Payton confirmed today that running back Mark Ingram will be held out of Sunday’s game against the St. Louis Rams as he recover from a bruised a heel.

Shortly after that he then confirmed that the New Orleans Saints would indeed add running back Chris Ivory to the active roster, and that he will play against St. Louis in place of Ingram.

Ivory, last seasons leading rusher, underwent a Lisfranc procedure to repair tendons in his left foot this off-season.

He then suffered a hernia injury during training camp that would require surgery as well.

The combination of the two injuries sealed his fate and the Saints were forced to place him on the PUP list to start the 2011 NFL season.

He was eligible to come off the list last week (6 weeks), but was  promoted to “active” physically unable to perform just this week.

The move cleared him to start practicing with the team in full, and it lead to the assumption that the Saints were going to play it safe with Ingram’s foot after keeping him out of practice all week.

Expectations should be tempered as to Ivory’s effectiveness in his first game back, Payton already commented that they will not feed him the bulk of the carries during the game as they do with Ingram.

Instead the Saints will lean on Pierre Thomas and Darren Sproles — expanding their roles in the offense — to ease the burden on Ivory, who has just not taken very many snaps with the first team offense.

Fans will still be anxious to see  if Ivory has lost a step or two after a such a dominant season in 2010.

Ivory ran over opposing defenses and was superbly impressive toting the rock — averaging the best yards per carry average of any NFL rookie running back with 5.2.

Fourteen running backs were taken in the 2010 NFL draft, Ivory was not among them, but he still managed to be the highlight of the group.

That group included three first round picks in C.J. Spiller, Ryan Mathews, and Jahvid Best. None of them were able to best Ivory’s rushing production.