A quick look at the injury report for the New Orleans Saints on the team website looks promising for their Week 14 prime time matchup against the Carolina Panthers. The Sunday Night Football game between the two division rivals, who both sit at 9-3 and are vying for the NFC South title, is the third prime time game in a row for New Orleans, while the Panthers are looking for their ninth consecutive win. Having their players healthy and able to contribute to a win is very important to New Orleans in these few remaining games of the 2013 NFL season.
Right tackle Zach Strief is one of the seven players listed on this week’s injury report, and he was held out of the Saints’ first practice of the week on Wednesday. Strief is working through an ankle injury, but he did participate on a limited basis in practices on Thursday and Friday. Though listed as questionable, chances are that he will start and play Sunday night.
Listed as questionable on the defensive side of the ball are safety Rafael Bush, nose tackle Brodrick Bunkley, linebacker Keyunta Dawson, and defensive end Glenn Foster. Bush, Dawson and Foster are dealing with ankle, calf and knee injuries, respectively. All are listed as questionable and did not participate in any of the Saints’ practices this week. Bunkley participated in a limited fashion at Friday’s practice.
Those players who were able to practice this week are more likely to play, but only time will tell. Defensive coordinator Rob Ryan and his united should not be hampered in their effort to contain Panthers’ quarterback Cam Newton, as Ryan is adept at working with the personnel available to him.
It is favorable to New Orleans that that Jimmy Graham is no longer listed on the injury report, nor is running baack Darren Sproles. Graham suffered a foot and elbow injury about midway through the season, while Sproles suffered a concussion just a few weeks ago. Having both back and healthy makes the Saints’ offense that much more deadly and potent, and if the offense can play the way it wants to, it may not matter at all what Carolina tries to do on either side of the ball.