Saints RB Pierre Thomas returns to practice for first time since hurting chest in regular-season finale

Saints running back Pierre Thomas

After missing four straight practices as well as the Saints’ wildcard win at Philadelphia with a chest injury he sustained in the regular-season finale, RB Pierre Thomas returned to work in a limited capacity on Thursday. He was stretching and taking part in individual drills during a portion of practice that was open to the media.

DE Akiem Hicks (ankle) was limited a second consecutive day of practice on Thursday. All other Saints players were full participants, including guard Jahri Evans, who was limited on Wednesday with an ankle injury

The Saints (12-5) visit top-seeded Seattle (13-3) for an NFC Divisional playoff on Saturday. Seattle S Kam Chancellor practiced fully on Thursday after sitting out Wednesday with a hip injury. WR Percy Harvin, who also has a hurt hip, practiced fully in Seattle for a second straight day.

All other Seahawks were full participants in practice.

Thomas played all 16 of the Saints’ regular-season games, rushing for a team-leading 549 yards and two touchdowns on 147 carries. He also had 513 yards and three touchdowns on 77 catches, the most among NFL running backs.

In his absence, the Saints rushed for 185 yards in their 26-24 win against Philadelphia, including 97 yards and a touchdown from Mark Ingram. Nonetheless, the Saints would be glad to get Thomas back when they face Seattle’s top-ranked defense.

Sheldon Mickles contributed to this report.