The Saints’ 32nd-ranked rushing offense took another hit Friday when interim coach Joe Vitt revealed that running back Darren Sproles has a broken hand and will not play in Monday night’s game with the Philadelphia Eagles.
Sproles was absent from practice for a second straight day Friday, one day after Vitt said he missed practice with a hand injury. But he did not elaborate on the severity of the injury.
When Vitt was asked about Sproles during his daily news conference Friday, he said that he has a broken hand and gave no timetable for his return although he will be re-evaluated next week.
The loss of Sproles is a blow to the Saints’ running game, which nets just 72.6 yards per game, as well as the passing and return games.
A versatile scatback who set an NFL single-season record with 2,696 all-purpose yards in 2011, Sproles is the team’s third-leading rusher with 117 yards and a 4.5 average and is the second-leading receiver with 39 catches for 323 yards and four TDs.
He also averages 6.6 yards per punt return and 28.7 yards per kickoff return.
Rookie running back Travaris Cadet will likely get a chance to return punts and kickoffs even though wide receiver Lance Moore could also get a shot on punts.
Running back Chris Ivory, who has been a healthy inactive for five games and has not played in the two games he was active for, could be in line to get his first carry of the season behind Pierre Thomas and Mark Ingram.