By Danny Cox
When the New Orleans Saints step out onto the field in Philadelphia to face the Eagles in the Wild Card round of the playoffs, the temperatures are expected to be between 20 and 30 degrees, with winds making it feel even colder. It is clear that the Saints are not a team that plays well on the road, and even worse when it is cold. They're hoping to take those facts and change them, but they may have to do it without one of their premier offensive weapons.
The Saints have practiced well since the regular season ended and they're looking at an injury report that is extremely short. They're actually at the healthiest they've been this entire season.
But running back Pierre Thomas has landed on the injury report, and it's a frightening thought to even fathom.
Thomas didn't practice at all this entire week, and Saints head coach Sean Payton kept pretty much all of the information regarding the injury to himself. This should come as no surprise, as Payton never gives any real information on any player's injury.
All that is really known is that it has something to do with Thomas' chest, and it was enough to keep him out of practice this week. While Thomas is an intricate part of the offense, the Saints are not shallow at running back.
Mark Ingram has been playing some of his best football as of late and can easily pound out the tough yards while also breaking through. Rookie Khiry Robinson has shown a lot of promise this season and is fully capable of helping fill in for Thomas. If need be, the Saints can also make Travaris Cadet active for the game and also have fullback Jed Collins.
With Thomas not able to play, the Saints will miss him on that screen pass that has become so successful for them, but even Lance Moore has filled in there at times.
Another player on the injury report is safety Rafael Bush, who has been limited this week with an ankle injury. He sat out on Wednesday and was then limited the rest of the week, but he should be ready to go on Saturday night.
Bush is a backup safety, but the Saints can't afford to lose him after rookie standout safety Kenny Vaccaro was lost for the year late in the season. Malcolm Jenkins and Roman Harper will stop, but Bush is a key backup that plays a very important role on the Saints defense.
Keyunta Dawson has come on big on defense in the past few weeks, and he is listed as questionable for Saturday night as he is dealing with a calf injury. He could end up playing.
New Orleans has the depth at both running back and safety to make up for the loss of either Pierre Thomas or Rafael Bush, but they don't want to have to use it. Both players know how important this game is and the strong chances are that they will do whatever it takes to play.
- RB Pierre Thomas
- OLB Keyjnta Dawson - Calf
- S Rafael Bush - Ankle
For more Saints news and updates, visit Saints Central.
Danny Cox knows a little something about the NFL, whether it means letting you know what penalty will come from the flag just thrown on the field or quickly spouting off who the Chicago Bears drafted in the first round of the 1987 draft (Jim Harbaugh). He plans on bringing you the best news, previews, recaps, and anything else that may come along with the exciting world of the National Football League. Danny is a freelance writer covering all things NFL. His work can be found on Examiner.com.
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