this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; By SHELDON MICKLES Advocate sportswriter Published: Aug 1, 2007 JACKSON, Miss. — The New Orleans Saints apparently dodged a bullet with Monday’s knee injury to defensive end Rob Ninkovich. Ninkovich, a second-year pro, injured his left knee in the afternoon ...
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Ninkovich injury not as serious as feared
By SHELDON MICKLES
Published: Aug 1, 2007
JACKSON, Miss. — The New Orleans Saints apparently dodged a bullet with Monday’s knee injury to defensive end Rob Ninkovich.
Ninkovich, a second-year pro, injured his left knee in the afternoon practice and was examined in the locker room before being taken for an MRI.
Saints coach Sean Payton said the test showed that Ninkovich, who played in three games last season before tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee, has a sprained medial collateral ligament. Initially, trainers feared Ninkovich injured his patellar tendon — which would have ended his season.
“The news was good,” Payton said. “From a timing standpoint, we’re looking at about four weeks. It’s encouraging compared to what it might have been.”
Reggie the lobbyist
Saints running back Reggie Bush is nicknamed “The President” because of his last name, but he’s been more like a lobbyist lately.
Bush, who averaged 7.7 yards a punt return last season, is one of four players working at that spot in camp.
But Bush would like to add kickoff return to his repertoire in addition to his role in the offense following the release of Michael Lewis in June.
“A lot depends on some of those other guys that are working back there, but he’s kind of lobbying for that,” Payton said. “So we’ll see. Right now, he is taking reps at both skills. We’ve got candidates, but it’s an important area.
“It was brought up a few days ago, and it’s one of the things up on our grease board. We’ve got to find a kick returner.”
Payton said wide receiver Robert Meachem, the team’s top draft pick this spring, might have had his best practice in Tuesday’s first workout after the rookie from Tennessee struggled with dropped passes early in camp.
“We keep talking about making steps and making progress,” Payton said. “He’s got a lot of ability and he’s working extremely hard, so I was pleased to see him get his hands on some balls today. He’s a big target.
“It’s just the definition of the route-running and exactness of the assignment. Those are things he’ll continue to work on. But I was encouraged.”
Play of the day
Rookie cornerback Usama Young made a nice interception on a poorly thrown pass by quarterback Tyler Palko during a red-zone drill Tuesday morning. Rhema McKnight, who could only get a hand on a ball that was high and behind him, tipped it into the air and a diving Young made a one-handed catch before the ball could hit the turf.
Besides Ninkovich, six players missed both practices Tuesday — DT Brian Young (foot), SS Roman Harper (knee), WR Jamal Jones (knee), DE Anton Palepoi (ankle), DT Lance Legree (knee) and DE Jon Hamm (quadriceps).
RB Aaron Stecker was excused from camp to be with his wife, Kara, for the birth of their second child. Stecker is expected back on Thursday.
Harper has missed three practices because of some swelling and soreness in his surgically-repaired left knee. Said Payton: “He’s doing fine. He just had some soreness and we want to be a little safe there.”
During practice on Monday and Tuesday, the second-team defensive line consisted of four players who played their college ball in Mississippi.
Willie Evans and Josh Cooper were at the ends with Kendrick Clancy and McKinley Boykin inside at the tackles.
Evans attended Mississippi State, while Cooper, Clancy and Boykin went to Ole Miss.