4 storylines to watch on the final Saints-Seahawks injury report

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The final New Orleans Saints injury report ahead of Monday night’s game with the Seattle Seahawks will drop on Saturday afternoon, and there are a number of situations worth monitoring. Important starters in all three phases of the game are working to come back from injuries, while others could go to injured reserve if their condition is severe enough to warrant longer rest.

And a small crowd of others are working to return from injured reserve, but it may be too soon to know anything on Kwon Alexander, Wil Lutz, Marcus Davenport, Tre’Quan Smith, Nick Vannett, Chase Hnasen, and Ken Crawley. Because none of those players are officially on the 53-man roster their status won’t be listed on the injury report. So here are who I will be looking out for:

Will Terron Armstead and Erik McCoy be upgraded?

Sep 26, 2021; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; New Orleans Saints offensive tackle Terron Armstead (72) is injured on a play against New England Patriots during the first half at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

The Saints’ two injured offensive linemen have practiced on a limited basis this week, but it would be great to see them listed as full participants on Saturday. That would signal more than anything else that they’re going to be ready to play on Monday after working with an abundance of caution earlier in the week.

McCoy has already expressed optimism that his calf injury is behind him, but we haven’t heard much about Armstead’s elbow issue. The good news is that neither player ever went to injured reserve, so if they’re fully healthy and ready to rock, there’s nothing standing in their way.

Will any non-participants go to injured reserve?

Aug 23, 2021; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; New Orleans Saints running back Dwayne Washington (24) reacts during the second half against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Caesars Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

Deonte Harris (hamstring), Taysom Hill (concussion), Chris Hogan (personal reasons), and Dwayne Washington (neck) were non-participants in practice this week, but there’s still time for them to get some work in if healthy. We’ll be keeping a close eye out for any updates Saturday afternoon, when injured players are ruled out for Monday and some sent to injured reserve.

Of this list the most likely to miss extended time feels like Washington, based off other roster moves. The Saints signed 2018 Pro Bowler Lamar Miller to the practice squad earlier this week, which followed earlier pickups in Ryquell Armstead (also to the practice squad) and Devine Ozigbo (to the 53-man roster) in the wake of Tony Jones Jr.’s injury.

Will Payton Turner return to practice?

New Orleans Saints defensive end Payton Turner sits on the bench during the first half of an NFL football game against the Carolina Panthers Sunday, Sept. 19, 2021, in Charlotte, N.C. (AP Photo/Nell Redmond)

The rookie didn’t miss a minute of practice on Thursday but was absent on Friday with a calf injury, which feels very random. He missed time earlier this year with an elbow issue and has continued to wear a brace, but this calf is a new problem. Hopefully it’s nothing too serious, but the fact he couldn’t go at all on Friday is concerning.

Annoyingly, this coincides with Marcus Davenport’s return to practice from injured reserve. While the veteran is dealing with a pectoral muscle injury, this off-and-on history hasn’t helped dissuade negative comparisons between the two former first round picks. Cameron Jordan hasn’t missed a snap in a decade; is the price of that sustained absences for each of his potential heirs? Fingers are crossed that Turner and Davenport will both be playing Monday.

What about Blake Gillikin?

LANDOVER, MARYLAND – OCTOBER 10: Blake Gillikin #4 of the New Orleans Saints reacts during the second half against the Washington Football Team at FedExField on October 10, 2021 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

The standout punter also missed Friday’s practice session but he wasn’t sent to the COVID-19 reserve list, so that would suggest he’s battling something closer to the flu or a stomach bug. That’s not to minimize his illness, whatever it is — it did knock him out of practice. Hopefully he’ll be ready to return to work on Saturday and continue punting at a high level on Monday.

It’s unclear who the Saints’ emergency punter may be if he’s unavailable. Nolan Cooney competed with Gillikin throughout training camp and remains a free agent, so he could theoretically be re-signed in a pinch. But the Saints currently don’t have another punter under contract (which, to be fair, few teams do). It’s something else to monitor.

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