With more than half of the 2013 NFL season in the books, most, if not all, 32 teams are facing injuries at key positions and to important players. Take the Dallas Cowboys, for instance. In their game last Sunday against the New Orleans Saints, defensive end DeMarcus Ware was visibly bothered by a nagging leg injury and linebackers Sean Lee and Justin Durant were forced out of the game with hamstring injuries. What happened from there was a 49-17 rout that saw the Saints put up 625-yards against America’s team and owner Jerry Jones lamenting the firing of Rob Ryan just a season ago.
Fortunately for Who Dat Nation, New Orleans’ injuries are not as bad.
Three of the leading contributors in Ryan’s defensive schemes were either limited or did not participate in Thursday’s practice. Rookie safety Kenny Vaccaro sat out after he sustained his second concussion of the year in the game against Dallas. Meanwhile, defensive end Akiem Hicks and linebacker Curtis Lofton, the Saints’ leading tackler, were both limited in practice; Hicks has an issue with his back and Lofton has a hamstring injury. Tight end Benjamin Watson, who also suffered a concussion Sunday, sat out of practice as well. All four players’ statuses for this Sunday’s game against the San Francisco 49ers are unclear.
The good news on the injury list comes in the form of Jimmy Graham and Cameron Jordan.
Graham has been playing on a limited basis since he suffered a partially torn plantar fascia in Week 6 against the New England Patriots. Though his playtime has been limited while he recovers, Graham still leads the NFL with 10 touchdowns and 805 receiving yards; not bad for a guy with an injury that makes it painful to even walk.
Jordan, who played a reduced number of snaps last Sunday, leads New Orleans with six sacks on the season and is having what many consider to be a breakout year. Also good news for the defense is that safeties Malcom Jenkins and Roman Harper fully participated in Thursday’s practice. Their return will be critical since Vaccaro will miss the 49ers game on Sunday.