Football has finally returned after a long, dark offseason filled with trench battles on courts of law instead of lines of scrimmage.
The Saints return to action at home against the 49ers on Friday night at 7pm.
Already ruled out for Friday night's game because of injury: T Alex Barron (knee meniscus), RB Chris Ivory (Lisfranc, sports hernia), CB Tracy Porter (knee), DE Greg Romeus (knee), LB Ezra Butler (hamstring, abdomen), WR Marques Colston (knee), and WR Adrian Arrington (ankle).
With Porter out as he continues knee rehab, second year Patrick Robinson, last year's first round pick, is expected to start.
Like Ivory, Butler had sports hernia surgery.
Colston has been held out of practice as a precaution for his knee, and Arrington has been fighting an ankle injury that is endangering his career as a Saint. Arrington isn't eligible to stick around on the practice squad in 2011.
The game against the 49ers will be a homecoming for C Jonathan Goodwin, who started for three seasons in a Saints uniform but is now the starting center for QB Alex Smith and the 49ers. It will be a familiar site for DT Aubrayo Franklin, who practice against the 49ers offense for four years as a 49er.
The Saints signed Franklin away from San Francisco a day before the Goodwin was signed away from New Orleans. But while the Saints replaced Goodwin with six-time Pro Bowler Olin Kreutz, the 49ers hope that Ray McDonald, signed in July, will help replace Franklin.