Yesterday Saints fans got some good news regarding Jonathan Vilma's groin injury, learning that the team expects him to be ready to play by September 9th for the regular season opener against the Vikings. That, however, is one of a few injury-related trepidations the Saints have right now. With the regular season just around the corner, they become ever more serious.
I figured it would be therapeutic if I collect all of the current Saints injury concerns all in one place so we can talk it out and try to work through this emotional time together. By my count, there are three significant worries, each of varying gravity and importance. After reading be sure to comment, comment and comment some more. If I missed a player with an injury that has you nervous, go ahead and throw it out there.
Is Vilma's injury really not that serious?
The latest on Jonathan Vilma's groin is that it doesn't require sports hernia surgery and that he'll only be out a week, ready to go for the home opener against the Vikings. In Payton's words...
I think we're optimistic that he's gonna be able to start up practice when we get going Sunday of next week.
That's great news. But since the status of Vilma's injury could be a factor when the regular season begins, the Sean Payton B.S. Meter needs to be dusted off and switched back on. I'm not saying the current timetable for Vilma isn't accurate or that he won't be back next week, I just know that pretty soon the games are going to start counting and Sean Payton is a master at the art of football espionage. Everything he says should be taken with a grain of salt.
Assuming Vilma is ready in time to face off against Brett Favre and the Vikings, will it be at full strength? How effective will he be? What worries me considerably more is that groin injuries tend to linger, taking a long time to fully go away. Could Vilma be hampered, at least slightly, by this injury for a better part of the season? So many questions!
When will Darren Sharper and Clint Ingram come off the PUP list?
I've got to admit I underestimated both Sharper and Ingram's recovery time and didn't think we'd even be having this discussion. With only nine days until the season opener and neither having seen the field yet this pre-season, I'm starting to get nervous that they both may have to start the season on the PUP list. That would mean they would have to miss the first six weeks of the season, regardless of whether they're healthy enough to play before then. Or the Saints could cut either or both of them and hope to bring them back when healthy.
Did Jimmy Graham's injury set him back?
The good news is that Graham finally returned to practice this week after an ankle injury. The bad news is that he missed the two weeks prior, valuable time lost. Many continue to tout Graham as the future tight end of this franchise but other than some nice showings during practice, we haven't seen much to prove that. Two weeks of pre-season reps seems a lot to miss, especially for a rookie with only one year of college football experience under his belt. But has the time he missed cost him a spot on the roster this year or moved him down on the depth chart? Or is he such a natural talent he'll fit right in quickly?