Oct 6, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA; New Orleans Saints cornerback Keenan Lewis (28) during the second half at Soldier Field. The Saints beat the Bears 26-18. Mandatory Credit: Rob Grabowski-USA TODAY Sports
With the New Orleans Saints and Cincinnati Bengals set to battle it out in what should be another physical matchup in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome Sunday afternoon, both teams have released their first injury reports of the week.
RB Pierre Thomas (Rib/Shoulder) – Did not practice
WR Robert Meachem (Ankle) – Did not practice
RB Khiry Robinson (Arm) – Did not practice
RB Edwin Baker (Concussion) – Did not practice
CB Keenan Lewis (Knee) – Did not practice
LB Curtis Lofton (Ankle) – Did not practice
P Thomas Morstead (Illness) – Did not practice
RB Mark Ingram (Shoulder) – Limited
LB David Hawthorne (Hand) – Limited
OT Zach Strief (Chest) – Full participant
RB Giovani Bernard (Hip/Clavicle) – Did not practice
LB Vontaze Burfict (Knee) – Did not practice
TE Jermaine Gresham ( Thigh) – Did not practice
S Taylor Mays (Foot) – Did not practice
G/C Mike Pollak (Knee) – Did not practice
CB Terence Newman (Knee) – Did not practice
LB Rey Maualuga (Hamstring) – Limited
RB Cedric Peerman (Knee) – Limited
OT Andre Smith (Knee) – Limited
CB Leon Hall (Concussion) – Full participant
As the season progresses, players start to get more and more banged up, and that’s just part of the game. For the Saints, Pierre Thomas and Khiry Robinson remain out, but it sounds like the PT Cruiser is a bit closer to making a return. However, nothing is guaranteed for Sunday.
The main concerns for New Orleans are the absences of Keenan Lewis and Curtis Lofton, who are perhaps the defense’s two most consistent players when it comes to performing at a high level. The absence of Lewis could result in a long day for the Black and Gold with A.J. Green and Mohamed Sanu catching passes for Cincinnati.
Good news though as David Hawthorne returned to the field for a limited session. He originally injured his hand against the Green Bay Packers and was forced to miss Sunday’s contest against the San Francisco 49ers.
The Bengals remain banged up with keys players like Giovani Bernard, Vontaze Burfict and Terence Newman sidelined. However, even with the speedy, versatile Bernard likely sitting out this weekend, the ground attack should not be underestimated with rookie running back and former LSU star Jeremy Hill in the backfield.
Burfict, who led the NFL in tackles with 171 last year, hasn’t seen action since October 26, so we’ll be sure to monitor his status throughout the remainder of the week. That goes for both teams, as we’ll be sure to keep you updated with any changes, Who Dat Nation.
Sunday’s contest in the Superdome is a critical one. At 4-5, the Saints will be looking to get back up to .500. Even with a poor record, New Orleans still owns a firm hold on the NFC South, so gaining an even bigger lead to make a playoff push will be crucial.