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Bradley Handwerger / WWLTV.com Sports Reporter
bhandwerger@wwltv.com

METAIRIE, La. Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma missed his fourth straight practice as he continues to rehabilitate a bum left knee that he originally injured on Sept. 18.

'I'm hopeful,' Saints coach Sean Payton said. 'We're also going to be pretty smart with the bye coming after this game. ... Last week, it was at a point where there was still enough soreness he had missed enough snaps we decided not to play him.'

Defensive end Turk McBride (ankle) was out as were cornerbacks Tracy Porter (neck) and Patrick Robinson (stomach) while left tackle Jermon Bushrod was excused with a stomach illness.

Running back Mark Ingram (right heel) returned but was limited as was John Gilmore (neck) and running back Chris Ivory (hamstring)

Vilma has missed two games this season, including this past weekend against Tampa Bay. He also sat out against Houston on Sept. 25, the week after he originally injured his knee.

While Bushrod's stomach ailment was a virus, Robinson's was different.

'With Patrick, the other day he came in and actually had some pretty serious pains so we took him in for some exams,' Payton said. 'He's just through that and getting some tests done.'

Doctors ruled out appendicitis, Payton said, and the issue isn't football-related.

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