Bradley Handwerger / WWLTV.com Sports Reporter
METAIRIE, La. – Six players, including four starters, were listed as did not participate in New Orleans’ first practice in preparation for Sunday’s inter-conference game at Jacksonville.
Linebacker Jonathan Vilma sat out team drills for the fourth straight practice session as he nurses his left knee back to health.
Meanwhile, offensive tackle Zach Strief (right knee) and center Olin Kreutz (left knee) were out as was tight end David Thomas (concussion).
Thomas will have to clear protocol that includes seeing outside neurologists before he can be OK’d to get back on the field, per league rules.
In addition to those three, backup linebackers Martez Wilson (stinger) and Will Herring (hamstring).
Receiver Marques Colston (right clavicle) and linebacker Jonathan Casillas (right foot) were limited.
Everyone else was full, including cornerback Tracy Porter and defensive tackle Tom Johnson.
The run on injuries forced the Saints to make roster moves this week. With the 53-man tight, New Orleans placed kicker Garrett Hartley (right hip) on injured reserve and cut defensive tackle Mitch King.
“I think a lot of it was creating roster space,” Saints coach Sean Payton said. “Two-fold – No. 1 creating roster space and No. 2, John (Kasay) has been outstanding.”
Kasay is 6 of 6, including a 53-yarder against Chicago.
That opened up space for the Saints to sign linebacker Ramon Humber (5-foot-11, 232 pounds), who was with the team late in 2010 and was released in the last round of cuts in training camp, and offensive tackle Pat McQuistan (6-6, 319), who played in 56 games with Dallas and Miami, including starting eight with the Dolphins in 2010.
King was signed back to the Saints’ practice squad after clearing the waiver wire.