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Sean Payton 'optimistic' about Junior Galette's injury

It appears outside linebacker won't need surgery

The previous, glum medical assessment of New Orleans Saints linebacker Junior Galette appears to have been direr than it should have been.

Galette, who led the Saints with 10 sacks last season, has missed time this offseason with a pectoral injury. But the injury will not require surgery, and Galette possibly will be ready to participate in training camp.

"We'll see, we're optimistic," Coach Sean Payton said Tuesday. "I think all along, we've kind of just been wanting to make sure enough eyes were on him, kind of do the best thing here as we approach this break.

FIRST LOOK: Inside linebacker Dannell Ellerbe on Tuesday got his first extended, on-field work with the Saints defense. Ellerbe, who was acquired from Miami in the Kenny Stills trade, had missed much of the offseason work due to a hip injury sustained last season with the Dolphins.

"Each week we've kind of taken another step," Payton said. "Today was one of the first days where he got a lot of team snaps, so he's progressing well, rehab has gone well, he has picked things up and we've just been smart about the snaps we're giving him."

POSTIVE STEP(HONE): Rookie linebacker Stephone Anthony continues to impress. Anthony, the No. 31 overall pick in the draft, has shown a knack for being around the action. The rookie appears to be ready for the prospect of playing early for the Saints. "He's around the ball," Payton said. "He has really done a good job of getting acclimated quickly to our system. I would say he's pretty mature. He's ready for the competition, ready for the opportunity."

EXTRA EYES: An NFL officiating crew attended Tuesday's practice, including line judge Sarah Thomas, the NFL's first full-time female official. Payton said the officials' presence allows the Saints to better interpret some things. "There's a handful of things," he said. "We went through the new PAT rule change, (where) the ball is at the 15-yard line. There's a few nuances that are different than field goal. I think the presence of these guys and women working our camp … I think is a good thing."

A HELPING HAND: Officials weren't the only aid on the premises. Former kicker John Carney, a member of the Saints Hall of Fame, will attend minicamp to give advice to the two kickers currently on the roster, 23-year-old Zach Hocker and 24-year-old Dustin Hopkins. Carney, a three-time All-Pro, played 23 seasons.

Photos from 2015 Saints Minicamp presented by Verizon. Photos by Michael C. Hebert. (New Orleans Saints photos)

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