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Wednesday Morning Practice Notes

Thursday practice moved indoors, closed to public

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The Saints held their ninth training camp practice Wednesday morning and for the second-straight day under a dark overcast throughout practice in 107-degree heat index.

PRACTICE CHANGE:The Saints' only practice Thursday, at 8:50 a.m., has been moved to the indoor facility and closed to the public. The next practice open to the public will be Friday morning at 8:50 a.m.

INJURY UPDATE:LB Scott Shanle, TE Jeremy Shockeyand RB Pierre Thomassat out practice and observed from the sideline.

Payton said of Thomas "X-Ray (on left wrist) was negative like we thought yesterday. (His return) will be sooner rather than later."

Payton said TE Tory Humphreyand DB Patrick Robinsonboth "tweaked" their hamstrings during practice.

CB Tracy Porterwas held out of the latter half of practice with back spasms.

REPLACING GRANT:One of the intriguing battles of training camp is the starting left defensive end spot. DL Alex Brown, Bobby McCray and Jimmy Wilkersonare in the mix for the position that opened after Charles Grant'sdeparture in the offseason.**  * *

McMAIN HIGH SCHOOL OBSERVES:The McMain High School football team observed practice Wednesday morning. Several Saints coaches and players greeted the Mustangs after practice including Head Coach Sean Payton, QB Drew Brees, RB Reggie Bush,WRs Marques Colstonand Lance Mooreamong others. * *

BUSH TALKS TWITTER:RB Reggie Bushposted on his Twitter account that he expects QB Brett Favreto be playing for the Vikings in their season opener on Sept. 9 against the Saints. The social-media savy star elaborated on his Twitter post following practice.

"I write things on Twitter and I am joking most of the time," said Bush. "Some people will take it serious and critiques will criticize whatever you say no matter what you say. Hopefully it serves as a little motivation for Brett Favre to come back. I hope to see him out there Sept. 9. I think he isn't done yet and has a lot of fight in him. He is obviously a competitor and one of the greatest for a reason. I am not sure what he is going to do. My tweet yesterday was just kind of being silly."

NUMBER CHANGE:Saints announced Wednesday that RB P.J. Hillhas changed his number from 43 to 32.

PLAY OF THE DAY: The play of the day came towards the end of practice when QB Patrick Ramseyhit WR Adrian Arrington on a fade route in the corner of the end zone during the goal-line session.

PUNT RETURNS:During the team's punt return coverage session, RB Reggie Bush,WRs Rod Harperand Lance Moorecaught punts.

Payton discussed the returners after practice.

"Obviously we've repped Reggie (Bush) and Lance (Moore). Rod Harper is a guy who got work a year ago. Tracy (Porter) got some work a year ago and we're just giving him more snaps now. Those four are getting the bulk of the work. We'll mix it up in the preseason so they'll all get some live snaps."

SHARPER'S SAFETY TALK:FS Darren Sharperhas missed the first nine practices while on the Active Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) List. Despite being a five-time Pro Bowler, Sharper said he has never approached a season as a guaranteed starter.

"I don't know a thing about being 'the guy'," said the 14-year veteran. "I think each and every year is a different year. You come into camp and always vying for a spot. Competition is a good thing and you look forward to that. My main goal is to come back healthy."

Sharper discussed the two guys that are splitting time at the first-team free safety spot, Malcom JenkinsandUsama Young, while he is on the PUP list.

"Both guys are doing extremely well," said the 14-year veteran. "We are all working together. I am trying to give them some tidbits that can help them out to see things a lot quicker and react a lot quicker. It's about knowing the different nuances that can help put them in positions to make plays like I did last year. I think it is good competition. I think both guys will be great players in this league. Usama and Malcolm have both made plays and they have a bright future."

WR COACH INSPIRES MOORE:WR Lance Moorecalled Wide Receivers Coach Curtis Johnson, who has been with the Saints since 2006, is a "great technician" as a coach and harps on the players but for their benefit.

"He can be annoying at times," joked Moore. "That is how he is and he is a heck of a coach. We don't always enjoy it but we know he is looking out for us. He has got us to the ability to where we are playing at right now and we look for him to get us ready."

USA TODAY FEATURES were at the Saints Training Facility on Wednesday. The crew is producing a piece on the success of the New Orleans and the Saints following Katrina. The feature will run on its Web site on Aug. 16.

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