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Saints Coach Sean Payton says Daniel Lasco out for season with bulging disc

Posted Nov 13, 2017

But injury is not career-threatening, Payton says

New Orleans Saints running back Daniel Lasco’s season is over due to the spinal injury he suffered against Buffalo on Sunday, but the injury does not appear to be career-threatening, Coach Sean Payton said Monday afternoon during a teleconference.

Lasco suffered the injury in kickoff coverage, after the Saints had taken a 14-3, second-quarter lead in what became a 47-10 victory over the Bills at New Era Field in Orchard Park, N.Y.

“He’s got a bulging disc and it’s a procedure they’ll do that will put him out for the year,” Payton said. “But it won’t be career-threatening. He flew home with us last night on the plane and the prognosis is good.

“We’re fortunate that it wasn’t more severe. I know his teammates – I know everyone, coaching staff, all of us – felt relieved that he was able to come back on the plane with us and can have this surgery ASAP, probably within the week.”

Lasco mainly has been a special team contributor in his two seasons. Last season, in seven games, he ran 11 times for 32 yards and caught two passes for 11 yards, and this year he hadn’t had a rushing attempt or reception in three games. He had seven special teams tackles last year.

GO WITH THE GUT: Payton said the decision to go for it on fourth-and-1 from the Bills’ 30-yard line, with 7:46 left in the first quarter and Buffalo holding a 3-0 lead, mainly was a gut feeling. It paid off when left guard Andrus Peat, center Max Unger and right guard Larry Warford opened a gaping hole through which Mark Ingram ran, shed a tackle attempt by Bills strong safety Micah Hyde and carried free safety Jordan Poyer another five yards for a 25-yard gain, to the 5-yard line.

“I felt early in the game where we were at, it was a short 1 – sometimes that matters – and it became a matter of a play that we felt confident in,” Payton said. “Guys did a good job executing blocking it, (and) it ended up being a bigger gain than we anticipated. It was just kind of a gut (feeling) where we were on the field, where we were early in the game. I didn’t feel the wind was a big issue (for a potential field goal), and yet, the distance dictated it more than anything."

It exhibited twofold confidence, that the offense could gain the necessary yardage and, if not, that the defense could come on the field and produce a stop.

“We didn’t really think anything about it,” linebacker Manti Te’o said. “I think a lot of us didn’t even grab our helmets. He just had faith in our offense, and they had faith in us that whatever the outcome of that, we would get the job done. It definitely does help us a lot to know that our head coach and offense trust us that if anything happens, that we would come in there and execute. It was an all-around great team win.”

Said fullback Zach Line: “Fourth-and-1 is always, pad-level wins. That’s kind of your ‘grit’ down, fourth-and-1. I think no matter where you’re at, that’s kind of one of those downs where the tougher team, the lower team, is going to win. That’s the same thing Coach Payton preaches – pad leverage, and go get it.

“I think (it’s a confidence boost), and I think it’s to the whole team any time you make a play like that. It keeps the drive alive, it keeps your defense off the field and ultimately converts to points. That’s what we’re trying to do, score points and impose our will on opposing defenses.”

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