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Lyons Yellin / WWLTV.com Sports Reporter
Email: lyellin@wwltv.com | Twitter: @wwltvsports

WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W. VA. New Orleans Saints cornerback Champ Bailey practiced with the team for the first time since he sustained an unspecified injury two weeks ago. He did not, however, participate an any live team drills, working only during walkthroughs and individual position drills.

'He's progressing well,' head coach Sean Payton said. 'He's feeling better and that's encouraging.'

The exact nature of Bailey's injury is still unknown as the Saints typically refuse to comment on the specifics of most during training camp.

Though Bailey has been out for the majority of the team's three weeks in West Virginia, Payton praised his work in the meeting rooms. Bailey's presence is an asset the team continues to draw from despite his limited on-field availability.

'He's really got good football intelligence and IQ,' Payton said. 'I think when you have something like that in the room it helps everyone that's in the meeting: the rookies, other players and he's been able to, when he's not on the field, take on that role.'

Bailey labored through most of last season with the Denver Broncos, missing all but five games with a foot injury. Nevertheless, the Saints signed him during the offseason to compete for the starting cornerback position opposite Keenan Lewis.

Despite having the NFL's second-ranked pass defense (No. 4 overall) in 2013, the Saints, with just 12 interceptions and seven fumbles, were one of the league's worst at forcing turnovers.

It's an area the team has since emphasized and hopes it addressed during the offseason with the signings of Bailey and three-time Pro Bowl Safety Jairus Byrd.

But Byrd, who began camp on the physically unable to perform list (PUP) after offseason back surgery, has yet to participate in any live contact exercises as the team remains cautious with his recovery.

Meanwhile, in Bailey's absence, Patrick Robinson has emerged as the likely No. 2 cornerback. However, he left practice on Sunday with an unspecified injury and hasn't practiced since. On Tuesday, he did some light jogging around the perimeter of the lower field while the team went through its morning practice routine.

The secondary has been riddled injuries and thus hasn't, to this point, been able to develop the type of chemistry the coaches would have liked. It's an eventuality they've prepared for, understand and aren't the least bit surprised they've had to deal with.

'You're going to deal with (injuries) every year and every day and every play,' defensive backs coach Wesley McGriff said. 'We play is a violent game. What you have to do is coach for depth. One play you could have everybody up and then the next play you can lose one or two guys. You're not going to be a full strength all the time.'

In other injury news, Drew Brees looks to be inching closer to a return as he put his pads back on for the first time since injuring his left oblique on Aug. 1. Brees threw to injured wide receiver Kenny Stills after doing some light jogging and agility drills on the side.

Brees is 'progressing well so all those things are good signs,' Payton said. 'Each day he does a little more in the training room and out here so we just keep working on the rehab and making sure, functionally, that we're not stressing it to where we're setting him back.

'The type of strain (Brees) has is something that can reoccur if you're not careful and you don't let it heal properly.'

Stills, meanwhile, has not practiced since re-aggravating his quad on the first day of practice. He initially sustained the injury working with Brees in San Diego during the month between OTAs and training camp.

Staring guard Jahri Evans re-emerged for the first time since leaving practice last Tuesday with an unspecified injury. He, too, rehabbed with trainers Tuesday, doing some light jogging and agility drills away from the team.

Linebacker David Hawthorne (undisclosed), linebacker Kyle Knox (undisclosed), linebacker Victor Butler (undisclosed), defensive back Rod Sweeting (undisclosed), fullback Erik Lorig (unspecified leg injury), offensive lineman Ty Nsekhe (undisclosed) and tight end Je'Ron Hamm (stinger) did not practice.

The Saints will hold their final practices at The Greenbrier on Wednesday before departing for New Orleans via team charter on Thursday. Training camp will resume Sunday at the team's Metairie facility.

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