METAIRIE – The Saints had to wait another day to get newly acquired linebacker Barrett Ruud on the practice field after he missed Tuesday’s workout because he was taking his physical.
Ruud was obtained in a trade Monday night with the Seattle Seahawks, but because of the lengthy plane ride and physical, could not make it out to the field in time for the 11 a.m. practice.
The Saints are eager to get the eight-year veteran on the field as they practiced a second straight day with only eight healthy linebackers after Curtis Lofton, David Hawthorne and Chris Chamberlain were injured in Friday night’s exhibition game with Jacksonville.
Chamberlain (knee) is lost for the season, but Lofton (ankle) and Hawthorne (knee) could return for the Sept. 9 regular season opener.
Interim coach Joe Vitt, who also coaches the linebackers, is excited to see what Ruud has to offer, even though he doesn’t know if he’ll get acclimated to a new defense in time for Saturday night’s preseason game with the Houston Texans.
“He is a guy I personally worked out when he was in college, and I think he has a real good feel for the game,” Vitt said of the former Tampa Bay Bucs standout. “He has played at a high level in this league. He has played on some of the top defenses in this league.
“He’s 29 years old, so he still has a lot of football ahead of him. We will introduce him to our system and see where he can get to by this weekend.”
CORNHUSKERS REUNITE: Strongside linebacker Scott Shanle is also excited about what Ruud can bring to the Saints defense after playing with him in 2002 at Nebraska.
“He was a heck of a player at Nebraska,” Shanle said. “He’s the all-time leading tackler for the University of Nebraska, which is a huge accomplishment.
“Obviously, I saw him play a lot of football when he was with Tampa Bay and year in and year out he was the leading tackler down there. He’s a heck of a football player with great instincts. I talked to him (Monday) night, and he’s excited and I’m excited to get him here.”
SPROLES, McBRIDE BACK: The Saints’ long injury list shrunk a little Tuesday when running back Darren Sproles and defensive end Turk McBride were able to dress for practice even though they participated only in individual drills.
Sproles has been out for 1 1/2 weeks with a knee problem, and McBride had a sprained ankle that forced them to miss last week’s game with Jacksonville.
“I think that if this was a regular-season game (Saturday), both players would go this week,” Vitt said.
INJURY REPORT: Not practicing Tuesday were Lofton (ankle), Hawthorne (knee), CB Jabari Greer (hernia surgery), WR Andy Tanner (ankle), WR Nick Toon (foot), WR Adrian Arrington (knee), DT Tom Johnson (ankle), CB Marquis Johnson (knee) and CB Kamaal McIlwain (groin).
Vitt said Marquis Johnson had some swelling in his knee, which caused him to miss a practice last week, and was held out of the workout.
STAYING POSITIVE: Lofton said he was injured making a tackle on the fifth play of Friday’s game, but stayed on the field and played another 25 snaps before being removed from the game along with the other starters.
“It’s just disappointing,” he said. “You put in all the work in the offseason. The preseason is almost done, and you get hurt with an injury like this and it sets you back.
“I’m just staying positive. … I know in the long run I’ll be out there,” Lofton said of being ready for the regular season opener. “I haven’t missed a game in my entire career and don’t plan on missing any yet.”
NO DECISION YET: Vitt said Tuesday he still doesn’t know who will take over for him when he has to leave the team on Aug. 31 to serve his six-game suspension for his role in the bounty scandal.
“(General Manager) Mickey (Loomis) and (team owner) Mr. (Tom) Benson are making that decision,” he said. “I am staying busy with the football team. I have nearly two weeks to be with them, so I like being around the team.”