The New Orleans Saints injury-riddled defense took another hit Wednesday when cornerback Patrick Robinson was put on injured reserve.
Robinson injured his right patella and is scheduled to have surgery that will sideline him for the remainder of the season, Saints coach Sean Payton said following Wednesday’s practice.
A four-year veteran who started all 16 games last season and tied for the team lead with three interceptions, Robinson was hurt on the second play of the third period in Sunday’s 16-14 win against the Tampa Bay Bucs.
Robinson’s right leg buckled while he was being blocked by wide receiver Mike Williams on a running play. Robinson immediately fell to the turf and grabbed his leg, then looked on in disbelief as he was fitted with an inflatable cast and taken to the locker room.
The injury ends a bad year for Robinson, who lost his starting job to free-agent signee Keenan Lewis and had his knee scoped in June which cut into his training camp. Then, he injured his foot in the season opener with the Atlanta Falcons and was limited in practice last week.
“It’s a setback and hurts our team as well,” Payton said. “He’s a good corner. It forces other players to step up, and we understand that.”
To fill Robinson’s spot on the active roster, the Saints brought back veteran cornerback Chris Carr.
Carr, a nine-year veteran who was signed by the Saints in mid-June, was impressive in the preseason, but had his contract terminated when the roster was trimmed to the 53-man regular-season limit on Aug. 31.
Rookie Rod Sweeting, who earned a roster spot as an undrafted free agent this summer, also excelled at cornerback in training camp. But he’s played mostly on special teams in the first two games.
With Robinson gone, the Saints now have five prominent defensive players on injured reserve or the physically-unable-to-perform list.
Inside linebacker Jonathan Vilma is on short-term IR and is eligible to return for the Nov. 3 game with the New York Jets, while outside linebacker Victor Butler is on PUP. Both players had knee injuries.
Outside linebacker Will Smith and defensive end Kenyon Coleman are done for the season with a knee injury and torn pectoral muscle, respectively.
Running back Mark Ingram, who has a toe injury, was among seven players who didn’t participate in Wednesday’s practice as the Saints began preparing for Sunday’s game with the Arizona Cardinals.
Also held out were S Roman Harper (knee), G Jahri Evans (hamstring), NT Brodrick Bunkley (calf), DE Tom Johnson (hamstring), DE Glenn Foster (ankle) and S Isa Abdul-Quddus (ankle).
Also, DE Tyrunn Walker (knee) was limited after missing Sunday’s game with the Bucs.
After holding the Falcons and Bucs to 17 and 14 points, which was a key factor in back-to-back wins to start the season, the Saints are now 40-2 when they hold opponents to fewer than 20 points since Payton’s arrival in 2006.
The two losses came in 2006 and ’07, which means the Saints are 28-0 since the start of the 2008 season when limiting opponents to 19 points or less.
With a 2-0 record, the Saints are one of just eight teams start the season with back-to-back wins with the others being Chicago, Denver, Houston, Kansas City, Miami, New England and Seattle.
Four of those teams — New Orleans, Chicago, Kansas City and Miami — failed to make the playoffs in 2012.
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