Judging by his ability to practice at least on a limited basis this week, New Orleans Saints Pro Bowl middle linebacker Jonathan Vilma may have a shot at playing in Monday night’s showdown with the New York Giants in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
Vilma, who was inactive for the last two games because of a lingering knee injury, worked limited again Friday after returning to practice on Tuesday.
Vilma reportedly had arthroscopic surgery on his left knee and missed two games and also had a bye week last weekend in which to recover.
He was injured in a Week 2 game against the Chicago Bears and missed just one game before playing in five straight. But he went to the sideline when the knee did not respond to treatment.
Saints coach Sean Payton said Tuesday that Vilma was doing well and his treatment was going well, but would only say that he was day-to-day and that they would measure how he was moving later in the work week.
PRACTICE REPORT: The Saints had just three players on their practice report Friday as they continued to prep for Monday night’s game.
Besides Vilma, the only other players on the report were defensive end Turk McBride (ankle) and defensive end Cameron Jordan (hand).
McBride did not work, while Jordan had full participation for the second straight day.
ROBINSON BACK: One name that hasn’t appeared on the practice participation report the last few days is cornerback Patrick Robinson.
The second-year pro missed practice and was held out of the last game before the bye against the Atlanta Falcons with stomach pains. Payton said Robinson underwent all kinds of tests, all of which came back negative.
“We knew going into the bye that had we played that weekend, he would’ve been able to play,” Payton said. “Fortunately for us, it wasn’t appendicitis and it wasn’t a sports hernia — or any of those other things.”
GIANTS AILING: On the other side of it, the Giants had a long injury report Friday.
Starting tackle Will Beatty (eye/back) did not work and won’t play Monday night, while three other key players — linebacker Michael Boley (hamstring), running back Ahmad Bradshaw (foot) and wide receiver Mario Manningham (knee) — did not practice as well.
Defensive ends Justin Tuck (ankle/shoulder) and Osi Umenyiora (knee) had limited participation Friday.
PAYTON NOT FAZED: Payton said he’s not thinking about a possible NFL suspension for Detroit Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, who was ejected from Thursday’s game with Green Bay for stomping on an opposing player’s upper arm.
The Lions’ next game is against the Saints in the Superdome on Dec. 4.
“That’s so far off our radar right now,” Payton said. “I know it’s a game that’s a week away, but the focus for us really, and it has to be, has been New York.
“Certainly those are things that the league handles, but there are enough things here in our own building that we’re worried about and making sure that we’re ready with our preparation.”
DEMPSEY TO APPEAR: Former Saints kicker Tom Dempsey will appear at the Saints Hall of Fame Museum prior to Monday night’s game.
Dempsey, who set an NFL record with a 63-yard field goal in 1970, will be available for autographs and pictures from 5-6:30 p.m. at the museum, which is located at Gate B on the Plaza level of the Superdome.