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New Orleans Saints fast-track recuperation with Thursday game in sight

'It's the next game up, you've got to be ready to go. Ain't no excuses, just find a way'


Fourteen New Orleans Saints were on Monday's estimated injury report for the Thursday night game against Jacksonville (4-2) in the Caesars Superdome, and several were noteworthy.

Left tackles James Hurst (ankle), right tackle Ryan Ramczyk (concussion) and linebacker Demario Davis (knee) each was on the did not practice projection, while defensive end Cam Jordan (back), safety Tyrann Mathieu (foot), receiver Chris Olave (toe) and guard Andrus Peat (groin) projected as limited participants.

The short week – the second game in five days for the Saints (3-3), and third in 12 days – did the team no favors as it looks to rebound from Sunday's 20-13 loss to the Texans in Houston, and nudge back over .500. Quarterback Jake Haener came off the list Tuesday; he was on it Monday as a result of returning from suspension.

"It's going to be a lot of mental, a lot of walk-through, and a lot of time spent in recovery," Coach Dennis Allen said of the team's practice schedule this week. "In the training room, doing all the different things that we have. We've invested a ton of money into a lot of recovery equipment, so our guys are going to have to do a really good job of taking care of their bodies this week.

"The preparation this week will be more of a mental nature than it will be of a physical nature in terms of what we do on the field. I think that's always the challenge on a Thursday night game, is trying to get them – after playing a tough game – trying to get a guy, get his body back ready to go."

In truth, every NFL team that plays on Thursday night encounters the same issue with regard to recovery. While often players admit their bodies aren't feeling ready for the next Sunday game until the previous Thursday, the Saints and Jaguars will be lining up on that day, forging through the soreness and fatigue.

Offensively, the Saints played 78 snaps against Houston while defensively, they logged 60.

"I think we're in a business where you just do what you've got to do," said Davis, who finished with a sack, two tackles for loss, a quarterback hit and seven tackles against Houston. Davis was a projected "did not practice" on Monday, and also did not practice Tuesday.

"It's the next game up, you've got to be ready to go," he said. "Ain't no excuses, just find a way.

"The biggest thing is to get your body back as quickly as possible. You've got to expedite your film study. But I feel like if you can find a way to get recovered and get your body regenerated and have an understanding of what the other team is going to try to do, and get an understanding of them, that's what's going to give you the best chance to be successful."

Quarterback Derek Carr, who also was listed on the injury report as a limited participant Monday with a right shoulder and chest injury, and fully practiced Tuesday – he hasn't missed a start since spraining the AC joint in his right (throwing) shoulder against Green Bay in Game 3 on Sept. 24 – said the short week could be a favorable scenario.

"I think on a short week it's exciting, because you don't have any time to dwell on anything else except football," Carr said. "You don't have time to make any calls or do anything else besides diving into the plays. In a compressed week, sometimes it's a blessing that you don't get time to dwell and harp over things. You just have to turn around and get ready to go play the next one. Knowing the guys in this building, I think it will be a positive response.

"You have to be able to, especially on short week, you have to be able to do all of the things. Whatever everyone did in the New England week, you have to be able to do all that stuff this week. You have to do all those things, even if you don't feel like it."

The Saints produced their most complete game of the season a week prior to playing Houston in a dominating 34-0 road victory over New England.

Davis said that game proved the Saints have the tools for success.

"We know the formula, we know what works," he said. "It's just about dialing in and being able to do that consistently."

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