Suddenly, the New Orleans Saints are hurting at linebacker.
Just more than a month after projected strongside linebacker Victor Butler suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in one of the final OTAs, fourth-year pro Martez Wilson had to leave Monday’s practice early with a left elbow injury.
After practice, Saints coach Sean Payton said Wilson’s injury didn’t appear to be “real significant.” While it was an early assessment, it seemed to be good news for Wilson, who was injured while running down field during team drills.
Wilson spent the offseason backing up Butler and is still working mostly with the second team after Junior Galette replaced Butler at the start of camp.
Inside linebacker Curtis Lofton, who appeared to be a little gimpy Sunday, was limited Monday and did not participate in team drills. Ramon Humber and Chris Chamberlain took turns filling his spot.
Also, wide receiver Saalim Hakim went down with what Payton said was cramps near the end of a steamy 21/2-hour practice.
Hakim was running a pass route over the middle when he fell to the turf and had to be helped by trainers. He was eventually carted to the training room.
Hakim also experienced heat-related problems Saturday when the Saints ran a series of gassers across the field for conditioning.
The biggest hit of training camp came when free agent linebacker Eric Martin blew up a screen pass from Ryan Griffin to running back Travaris Cadet during team drills.
Martin came up and timed the play perfectly, walloping Cadet just as he caught the ball and turned around to run up field. The hard hit elicited whoops and hollers from teammates on both sides of the ball.
An undrafted free agent from Nebraska, Martin has been playing with the second-team defense in the early stages of training camp.
Wide receiver Preston Parker made a nice twisting, turning catch in 1-on-1 pass drills when he pulled in a throw from Griffin on a deep out-route.
Also, free safety Malcolm Jenkins dived in front of wide receiver Lance Moore to come up with an interception off Drew Brees in team drills.
Blitzing safeties Roman Harper and Rafael Bush both batted passes back into the face of the quarterbacks during team work.
The Saintsations will unveil their 2014 swimsuit calendar on Wednesday, Aug. 7 from 6 to 8 p.m. in the Grand Ballroom of the Royal Sonesta Hotel in New Orleans.
A limited number of tickets priced at $40 per person are available. For more information, contact Shari Appel at (504) 553-2221 or email@example.com.
Proceeds will benefit the third annual Spirit Award, a scholarship fund created for high school seniors who wish to pursue dance team or cheerleading at the collegiate level and beyond.
Saints radio play-by-play announcer and longtime New Orleans sportscaster Jim Henderson was serenaded by fans during practice by singing “Happy Birthday” to him. Henderson turned 67 on Monday.
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