METAIRIE — Veteran cornerback Jabari Greer is expected to miss the first three exhibition games after undergoing surgery to repair a sports hernia injury, New Orleans Saints interim coach Joe Vitt said Thursday.
Greer flew to Philadelphia, where noted hernia specialist Dr. William Meyers performed the procedure Thursday. Vitt said the best-case scenario is that Greer could resume practicing the week of the Houston Texans exhibition game, which is scheduled to be played Aug. 25 at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
That means Greer will miss exhibition games against Arizona (Sunday), New England (Aug. 9) and Jacksonville (Aug. 17).
“But he’ll definitely be ready for the regular season,” Vitt said, alluding to the Saints’ opening game against the Washington Redskins on Sept. 9 at the Superdome.
It is the second time in less than three years Greer has undergone a sports hernia procedure by Meyer. Greer missed Games 9 through 15 in 2009 with an injured groin that required surgery. He returned for the regular-season finale and helped the Saints make their dramatic run to victory in Super Bowl XLIV.
Meyers has performed similar procedures on former and current Saints, including middle linebacker Jonathan Vilma, defensive end Will Smith and running back Chris Ivory.
Out in full force
Look for the entire Saints team to be wearing No. 77 jerseys at Saturday’s televised ceremonies in Canton, Ohio, to honor Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee Willie Roaf, an 11-time Pro Bowl left tackle who played his first nine NFL seasons in New Orleans.
Speaking of Roaf
Although the occasion happened eight years ago, Smith remembers his one sack against Roaf like it was yesterday. It came in Game 9 of Smith’s rookie season in 2004 during a 27-20 win against the Kansas City Chiefs at the Superdome.
“I had heard a lot about him, and everything they said about him was true,” Smith said. “Luckily I got a sack on him. That was during the days when they had the iconic left tackles. We don’t have too many of those today. But, he was one of those guys who wouldn’t even let you get close to a quarterback or even get a pressure or a hurry.
“To get a sack against him meant a lot, and he still gives me a hard time about it every time I see him. So, he still remembers it. But he was a great player and I’m happy for him and his family.”
Smith ends silence
Smith, who has been conspicuously quiet with regard to his upcoming four-game suspension for his role in the bounty scandal, briefly addressed the issue with reporters after Thursday’s practice.
“Obviously, I don’t think it’s fair,” Smith said. “Obviously, I think the commissioner (Roger Goodell) made a mistake. All the reports that went out there, a lot of people would agree with that. Ultimately, he made the call and it’s in the court system. We’ll see what happens. If I’ve got to serve the four games, I’ll serve the four games. When I come back, I’ll be 100 percent ready to go and lead my team.”
Besides Greer, rookie WR Nick Toon suffered an unspecified foot injury during practice Thursday. Vitt said Toon will be evaluated and his status will be updated. Also, CB Patrick Robinson was sidelined for a third consecutive day with an injured shoulder, leaving his status in doubt for Sunday’s first exhibition against the Arizona Cardinals in the Hall of Fame Game at Canton, Ohio.
DT Alex Daniels and DT Akiem Hicks (fractured right hand) are not practicing in pads yet, in accordance with the league’s new collective bargaining agreement. Hicks said he expects to practice Friday and hopes to play against the Cardinals.
The club re-signed CB Cord Parks and waived/injured WR Chris Givens (shoulder).
Play of the day
Laid-back wide receiver Marques Colston showed a side of himself seldom seen on the football field Thursday. After catching a touchdown pass from quarterback Drew Brees, Colston “power-spiked” the ball in the end zone.
Tight end Jimmy Graham twice pulled a similar stunt, and running back Darren Sproles did it once much to the fans’ delight.
“Drew just wanted to have a little fun so anybody that got in the end zone we were going to spike it,” Colston said. “I had to really think about how to do it because, I mean, it’s a first for me. But I’ve got to be a team guy and have some fun with it.
“Lance (Moore) likes to have fun in the end zone, but the rest of us (wide receivers) are kind of shy.’’
Asked if this was a sign of things to come, Colston replied: “I’ve got to practice it a little more.”
“I’m on the back-nine of my career right now and I can see the clubhouse, and at 57, I’m not buying a lot of bananas. He’s got a lot of playing time ahead of him. He has a lot of completions and a lot of touchdowns yet to throw. It’ll be special and it will be emotional.” — Vitt on the day Brees gets inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.