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New Orleans Saints: An important season lay ahead for Mark Ingram

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He rushed for 474 yards on a team-high 122 carries for five rushing touchdowns, but missed eight total games due to injuries in 2011.

An injured heel kept him out of two games, and then he missed the final four games of the regular season and then two postseason contests after undergoing toe surgery (turf toe).

Ingram then underwent arthroscopic surgery on his left knee in early May of this year.

It was labeled as an optional “clean-up” procedure, and he was expected to miss up to six weeks, making his return in time for training camp somewhat of a question mark.

Interim head coach Joe Vitt initially said that the second-year running back would continue to be monitored closely heading into training camp to ensure the surgically repaired knee was fully healed.

Slow is a matter of opinion however as Ingram has been at full speed throughout the first two days of training camp, taking the bulk of the snaps alongside the first string offense.

His heavier workload is every indication that the Saints plan to make Ingram the starter heading into the 2012 season.

First and second downs, as well as short yardage and goal line situations, are where Ingram will attempt to make his mark on the team.

With such dynamic backs behind him the pressure is on him to perform well while proving he can stay healthy for a full sixteen game season.