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JOESAM2002 08-20-2003 09:17 AM

Saints News...

Saints News

Sloan in swing after surgeries

McDonogh 35 alum rookie WR Gardner gets 'better and better'

Wednesday August 20, 2003

By Jeff Duncan
Staff writer

Forgive Saints tight end David Sloan if he's starting to feel like the "Six Million Dollar Man."
The repaired parts on his towering 6-foot-6 frame are starting to outnumber the properly functioning ones.
In the past eight months, Sloan has undergone surgical procedures on his left toe, left knee and right shoulder. He hasspent so much time in operating and waiting rooms that he could almost apply for a residency.

Sloan's most recent procedure was Aug. 4, when he had shoulder surgery to remove loose bone fragments and cartilage. The operation, which sidelined him for nearly two weeks, was necessary after Sloan injured the joint during the second week of practice.

"It happened just when I was getting healthy and starting to turn the corner," said Sloan, who missed offseason workouts because of toe and knee surgeries.

Sloan, who is expected to play the No. 2 tight end position alongside starter Ernie Conwell, returned to practice Aug. 13. He is participating in seven-on-seven and individual drills but is being held out of contact work.

"I'm used to it, but I'm anxious to get back out there. I just don't know when that's going to be," Sloan said. "I've still got a lot of good miles (in) me."

CATCHING ON: After a shaky start, wide receiver Talman Gardner has settled down in recent weeks. In two preseason games, the rookie from McDonogh 35 and Florida State has caught two passes for 19 yards.

"He is getting better and better every day," Haslett said.

SIDELINED: Wide receiver Donté Stallworth missed his second consecutive workout because of the flu and a tight hamstring. He didn't play against the Jets because of the hamstring injury, a condition that has plagued him throughout his career. Haslett said he expects Stallworth to play in Saturday's exhibition game against San Francisco.

"It is not a concern," Haslett said. ". . . (The hamstring) is something that he is going to have to deal with his whole life.He needs to manage it and take care of his body."

BANKS RELEASED: Reserve running back Tavian Banks was released after the morning workout to make room on the roster for rookie cornerback B.J. Tucker, who was claimed on waivers. Banks had not practiced since straining a hamstring in the first week of camp. His release cuts short a comeback attempt from a knee injury that had sidelined him since 1999.

Tucker, 5 feet 11, 188 pounds, was waived by Dallas on Monday. Dallas selected him in the sixth round this year. He had been bothered by a strained hamstring for much of camp. The Saints will assume his three-year, $987,000 contract.

ETC.: The Saints began preparations this week for Seattle, their opponent in the regular season opener Sept. 7. . . . The club released tight end Mario Jackson to clear room on the roster for Carter, who signed Monday. . . . In the absence of Darren Howard, who is out with a bone bruise in his right knee, Charles Grant has moved from right end to left end in the starting lineup. Veteran Willie Whitehead is starting at left end.

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