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saint5221 11-12-2003 07:52 AM

Howard to see first action since opener

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Howard to play

Saints end to see first action since opener

Wednesday November 12, 2003

By Jeff Duncan
Staff writer

Darren Howard strapped on a set of shoulder pads Tuesday for the first time since fracturing his right wrist in the season opener against Seattle on Sept. 7.

The veteran end played on the first-team defense during the Saints' 90-minute practice at the Superdome and said he expects to play Sunday against Atlanta.

"After sitting around doing nothing for the last couple of months, it feels good to be back out there and doing a little something," Howard said. "It's a day-by-day process to try to get back to using my hands. I'm a little rusty, but I'll be ready to play Sunday."

Saints coach Jim Haslett said Howard's role won't be determined until later this week. He said the medical staff wants to see how Howard's injured wrist responds to the extra work.

"I don't know how long he will play, and what role he will play in, whether it is first and second down or third down," Haslett said. "But Darren will play some."

If he plays Sunday, Howard will wear a protective cast. The cast will limit his ability to grasp and twist the injured joint, but it won't inhibit his ability tackle or rush the passer, he said.

"It's just hard to get your hands on somebody and push," Howard said. "I'd rather be out there with one arm or whatever than to be on the sideline and not be able to help."

After being drafted in the second round of the 2000 draft, Howard made 25 sacks in his first three seasons. He was expected to team with Charles Grant to form one of the league's best young pass-rush tandems but was injured in the second quarter against the Seahawks.

The injury has prevented Howard from lifting weights or conditioning his upper body. He has tried to keep his 6-foot-3, 281-pound frame in shape by working on his lower body and running or riding an exercise bike. He can't lift weights again until March.

"My body feels good right now," Howard said. "I've got seven games to try to go out there and help the team out. I really don't think (the injury) is going to be that much of a problem. Once I get out there and the adrenalin starts flowing and I finally smell the quarterback, I'm not going to feel it at all."

. . . . . . .

Jeff Duncan can be reached at or (504) 826-3405.

BlackandBlue 11-12-2003 08:33 AM

Howard to see first action since opener

He can\'t lift weights again until March.
Sorry, Darren, whether you believe it or not, this will play a factor in your on the field performance. I was all happy when I saw this thread, until I read that statement. Now I\'m depressed again. Think I need a smoke...

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