October 29, 2009

Saints lose FB Evans to ACL Injury; Fujita, Ellis hurting

Three injury updates for the Saints headed into their Monday Night tilt with the Falcons:
  • FB Heath Evans, a valuable veteran presence on offense, has been lost to the season to an ACL injury. Dr. James Andrews performed the surgery today in Florida.

    On paper, the Saints have replaced Evans with free agent fullback Kyle Eckel, 27, 5'11, 237. Eckel is a journeyman fullback out of the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. Eckel has been out of the Navy since he was dismissed in 2006. He made it to the NFL mostly in thanks to Steve Belichick, father of Patriots coach Bill, who scouted him during his senior year for then 10-2 Navy. Great article on Eckel, his involuntary separation from the Navy, and his journeyman career that has seen him go from New England to Miami, back to New England and then to Philadelphia. He was in training camp with the Eagles in August.

    However, in reality, the Saints will replace Evans with a cadre of runningbacks and tight ends. Lynell Hamilton, Jeremy Shockey and David Thomas will all play the part of Evans on the field.

    The Saints lost out on practice squad RB P.J. Hill when the Eagles signed him this week. They replaced Hill with RB Herb Donaldson, another familiar name and a rookie who like Hill went to camp with the Saints this season. Wrecking ball-esque Donaldson could see action if the Saints can't get the mix right with Eckel, Hamilton, Shockey and Thomas.

  • DT Sedrick Ellis has a sprained right knee. Swelling has gone down but Payton is refusing to comment on the injury until more is known. Its unlikely in our opinion that Ellis will play.

    Anthony Hargrove replaced Ellis at defensive tackle in Miami, and the Saints will activate season-opening starter Kendrick Clancy on Monday to join the rotation with Remi Ayodele. Clancy has been a healthy inactive recently as Ayodele's play improves.

  • LB Scott Fujita suffered a strained calf on the last play of the first quarter against the Giants and missed all of the Miami game. Fujita is "making a lot of progress" and Sean Payton is optimistic about his chances to play on Monday.

    Troy Evans and Jo-Lonn Dunbar both played in his place, Evans playing the first half and Dunbar the second.

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