Bradley Handwerger / Eyewitness Sports
METAIRIE, La. ― The Saints placed running back Pierre Thomas on IR Wednesday, the second time in as many days the team has placed one of its primary running backs on the list.
New Orleans picked up DeShawn Wynn on Monday after putting Chris Ivory on Injured Reserve and on Wednesday, signed Joique Bell to replace Thomas
“With Pierre, last week during practice he had a setback,” head coach Sean Payton said. “We got to that point in discussing it with him where it was at. He came back and was very effective for a couple of games, particular the ATL game. But the setback was substantial.
“We’re at the time of year where you want to do what’s best. The doctors, trainers and ourselves, we thought it was the best move.”
New Orleans plays at Seattle on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. in the Wild Card round of the NFC playoffs.
While Thomas went on IR, four others did not practice. Defensive tackle Anthony Hargrove (knee), tight end Jimmy Graham (ankle), linebacker Danny Clark (hamstring) and defensive back Malcolm Jenkins (knee) all sat out.
Tight ends Jeremy Shockey (groin) and David Thomas (knee) both were limited while receiver Marques Colston (knee) and defensive end Alex Brown (shoulder) both were full.
Thomas came into 2010 as the team’s leading returning rusher from the Saints’ Super Bowl winning season. He had 793 yards and six touchdowns on 147 carries and caught 39 passes for 302 yards and another two touchdowns.
But he missed 10 total games this season and had only 269 yards and two touchdowns on 83 carries and another 201 yards on 29 catches.
The Saints have had a season-long struggle with the running back corps, dating back to training camp when Lynell Hamilton was lost for the season when he tore up his knee in practices with New England.
Less than three weeks later, P.J. Hill was placed on IR with a torn triceps that he injured in a preseason game against Houston.
Reggie Bush was lost for half the season after breaking his right fibula in New Orleans’ Sept. 20 win over San Francisco. A week later, Pierre Thomas went out for nearly nine weeks when he severely sprained his ankle late in New Orleans’ loss to Atlanta.
But while Bush has returned and played in the past six games, Thomas was back for only three games before being listed on the inactive list for the regular season ender against Tampa Bay. He tweaked the same left ankle that bothered him originally the Friday before the game against the Bucs.
Bell (5-foot-11, 220 pounds) has spent time with the Indianapolis Colts, Philadelphia and Buffalo this season, but has no carries. He played at Wayne State, where he finished with 6,728 yards rushing with 96 touchdowns in addition to 918 yards and four scores receiving.