New Orleans Saints rookie running back Mark Ingram will be unavailable for Sunday’s game against the St. Louis Rams because of a bruised right heel, coach Sean Payton said Friday.
Ingram, who injured his heel in Sunday night’s game with the Indianapolis Colts, missed practice for a third straight day Friday and was ruled out of the game when Payton issued his final injury report of the week.
Ingram, the Saints top rusher with 329 yards and three touchdowns on 85 carries, will be replaced in the backfield rotation Sunday by 2010 leading rusher Chris Ivory.
Ivory has been on the physically-unable-to-perform list for the first seven games after missing all of training camp while recovering from a fractured left foot and sports hernia surgery.
Payton said Ivory, a 6-foot, 222-pounder who returned to practice Wednesday, will be added to the 53-man active roster by Sunday to help Darren Sproles and Pierre Thomas with the ball-carrying chores.
Payton said middle linebacker Jonathan Vilma practiced on a limited basis Friday after sitting out Wednesday and Thursday’s workouts with a lingering knee injury.
Vilma has had to sit out practices to rest his left knee for several weeks, but has missed just one game. He is listed as probable for the Rams game along with defensive tackle Sedrick Ellis (ankle), who was also limited Friday.
Tackle Zach Strief (knee) and tight end David Thomas (concussion) were limited and are questionable, while tight ends Jimmy Graham (ankle) and John Gilmore (neck/shoulder), linebackers Jonathan Casillas (knee) and Will Herring (hamstring), and defensive end Turk McBride (shoulder) are probable after full participation Friday.
Rams quarterback Sam Bradford, the top overall pick in the 2010 draft, will miss Sunday’s game with a high ankle sprain that he suffered Oct. 16 against the Green Bay Packers.
Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo said journeyman A.J. Feeley, who started last week for the first time since 2007, will get the call against the Saints. In a 34-7 loss to Dallas last week, Feeley was 20-of-33 for 196 yards with one touchdown, one interception and a passer rating of 64.7.
Also out are tackle Jason Smith (neck/concussion) and defensive tackle Darell Scott (concussion). Wide receiver Danario Alexander (hamstring) is doubtful, while cornerback Justin King (groin) and linebacker Brady Poppinga (calf) are questionable.
Back in the saddle?
It’s not known who will call the offensive plays Sunday because Payton didn’t want to give the Rams an advantage, but he’s expected to resume his normal duties after offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael Jr. sent plays in to quarterback Drew Brees last week.
Payton said he’ll reveal his plans at “noon Sunday,” which is when the game kicks off in the Edward Jones Dome. Payton, who’s still on crutches after he had surgery Oct. 17 to repair a torn meniscus and fractured tibia, said he doesn’t foresee problems in working from a visiting coaches’ booth.
“For the most part we should be fine there,” he said. “Generally, the newer stadiums have space. Some of the older stadiums are more of a challenge in regards to the visiting press box. Hopefully, this one will be all right.”
Brees, Ingram miss out
Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers and Dallas running back DeMarco Murray claimed the FedEx NFL Air & Ground Players of the Week on Friday, while Murray is the Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Week winner.
They won the weekly awards in an online vote of NFL fans. Brees and Chicago running back Matt Forté, a former Tulane star, were other finalists for the FedEx awards, while Ingram was nominated for the Pepsi honor.