August 9, 2002

Pathon, Stallworth Could Miss Preseason Opener

Rookie WR Donte Stallworth has already been ruled out of this Saturday's preseason opener in New Orleans against the Houston Texans. Stallworth has missed more than a week of practice now with a hamstring injury.

WR Jerome Pathon, competing with Stallworth for the starting job across from Joe Horn, has a quadicep injury and may be held out as well.

Jim Haslett also ruled out backup tackle Shane Cook. The coach said that he will sit down with head trainer Scottie Patton and discuss all of the team's injuries.

The Saints have a short week, playing the Texans in the Superdome on Saturday and the Dolphins in Miami on Thursday. Haslett said that Stallworth could miss both games.

Should both Stallworth and Pathon sit, Jake Reed and Michael Lewis would get starting time.

RB Ricky Williams (hamstring), DE Darren Howard (shoulder), CB Fred Thomas (groin), WR Hilton Alexander (ankle), RB Terry Allen (hamstring), S Richard Newsome (quadriceps), and DL Kenny Smith (knee) are also in question for the game.

Ricky Williams has missed most of this offseason with a hamstring injury. Darren Howard suffered his shoulder injury in Jacksonville and while it isn't considered a problematic injury, he may miss the next two preseason games as well. Howard's injury is a strain of the trapezius muscle, that runs from the upper back shoulder to the neck.

Fred Thomas' groin injury has frustrated the starter but isn't expected to be a long-term injury. Thomas may also be held out as a precaution. Second-year receiver Hilton Alexander sprained his ankle, x-rays came back negative.

Allen's hamstring injury is a lingering problem from the beginning of training camp. Allen has played through both the hamstring injury and a broken finger, but may be held out of the preseason games as a precaution. His absence will give the Saints more time to evaluate some of the younger runningbacks competing for jobs.

That list includes RB Ricky Williams, a smallish but quick runningback with receiving skills. But Williams has missed most of the offseason now with the injury and has little chance of making the team if he continues to sit.

S Richard Newsome and DL Kenny Smith have returned to practice but may be held out as a precaution.

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