Payton says Strief’s ACL not torn

METAIRIE - New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton offered little insight into his team’s injury problems Wednesday although he did say that tackle Zach Strief did not tear the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee in Sunday’s win over the Houston Texans.

Strief went down in pain in the third quarter after he stepped on center Brian de la Puente’s foot while blocking on a pass play and had to be helped from the field.

Payton would not discuss any injuries after the game or in his weekly news conference on Monday, saying that he would address them when he had to turn in the first injury report to the league after Wednesday’s practice.

When asked if they hoped to have Strief back at some point this season since he wasn’t put on injured reserve, Payton said, “Absolutely.” While he didn’t reveal the nature of the injury, Payton said they would have put Strief on IR if it had been an ACL.

Injury report

In addition to Strief, five players did not participate in Wednesday’s practice.

They were middle linebacker Jonathan Vilma (knee), center Olin Kreutz (knee), strongside linebackers Martez Wilson (shoulder) and Will Herring (hamstring), and tight end David Thomas (concussion).

Weakside linebacker Jonathan Casillas (foot) and wide receiver Marcus Colston (fractured collarbone) were limited. Payton told Jacksonville media during a conference call that Colston, who has been sidelined for the past two games, has been cleared medically and will play Sunday.

The Saints did get good news when cornerback Tracy Porter, who missed the past two games with a calf injury, had full participation in practice for the first time since Sept. 14. Also working fully for only the second time since injuring his calf in training camp was defensive tackle Tom Johnson.

Roster moves

Payton officially announced two moves to the 53-man active roster as they re-signed linebacker Ramon Humber and signed tackle/guard Pat McQuistan to provide depth at two areas that have been hit by a rash of injuries.

Humber, who joined the Saints late last season, was waived by the team on Sept. 5 because they had to sign an extra tight end. McQuistan, a six-year veteran, started eight games at guard last season for the Miami Dolphins. He will serve as the primary backup for Charles Brown, who moves into the starting lineup for Strief.

The Saints put kicker Garrett Hartley on injured reserve with a hip injury that he suffered in an Aug. 28 exhibition game at Oakland and cut defensive tackle Mitch King, who was added to the practice squad after he cleared waivers.

The great outdoors

The Saints worked on their outdoor grass fields Wednesday as they began preparing for Sunday’s game with the Jacksonville Jaguars in EverBank Field.

Payton’s team usually practices indoors on Wednesday, especially when they will be playing on an artificial surface, but he often takes them outside to work for a road game where the stadium has natural grass.

“It was probably more grass and outdoor-related as opposed to heat-related,” he said. “It was warmer today than what we’re going to play in on Sunday. It was just a break from going inside.”

'Never Say Never’

Drew Brees and the Saints are one of three nominees for the GMC Never Say Never Moment of the Week, which recognizes determination and perseverance, for their 40-33 win over the Houston Texans.

The Saints trailed the Texans 26-17 early in the fourth before Brees led his team to 23 points in the final 9-1/2 minutes.

Fans can vote online at http://www.nfl.com/gmc until 11 a.m. Friday, with the winner being announced that day on NFL Network as well as nfl.com.

Two Saints on list

The Pro Football Hall of Fame released a list of 103 nominees for the Class of 2012 on Wednesday. The list includes two former Saints stars - tackle William Roaf and inside linebacker Sam Mills - as well as former Seattle Seahawks defensive tackle Cortez Kennedy, a consultant for the Saints.

The list will be whittled down to 25 semifinalists in mid-November before being trimmed to 15 finalists plus two old-timers in January prior to the election the day before Super Bowl XLVI.

Saints featured

The Saints-Texans game will be featured in Thursday night’s episode of “NFL Turning Point” at 9 p.m. on the Versus network. The show includes audio from the field and bench areas and commentary in breaking down the game.