Bradley Handwerger / Sports Reporter

METAIRIE, La. Running back Chris Ivory has been moved from the reserve-physically unable to perform list to the active-PUP list.

The Saints now have a 21-day window to decide on whether to bring Ivory up to the full roster or not.

Ivory's role is directly impacted by the health of running back Mark Ingram, who bruised his right heel in Sunday night's win over Indianapolis. Ingram didn't practice Wednesday and afterwards, coach Sean Payton said Ivory would be moved up if Ingram can't go against St. Louis.

'Just think about that, though,' Payton said. 'If Mark couldn't go, we'd go into the game with just two halfbacks. Three weeks ago, I think we were discussing him and I would say probably for the last two games he would have been healthy and ready to play and certainly is now.'

Ingram leads the Saints on the ground with 329 yards and three touchdowns, playing largely the same role that Ivory played in 2010, when he led New Orleans on the ground.

Ivory believes he'll deliver the same punch he to the offense he did his rookie season despite missing the first six weeks of 2011 as well as training camp.

'This year my focus is still the same on ball security and everything but they're going to see the same if not better,' Ivory said.

The second-year running back was put in injured reserve after the final week of the 2010 regular season when he broke his foot in the Week 17 game against Tampa Bay. He rehabilitated that all offseason but when training camp started after the lengthy lockout ended, he suffered a setback in the form of sports hernia.

That led to the Saints placing him on PUP, which Ivory said might just have been a blessing in disguise.

'I think the time that I've had off on the PUP, I've kind of learned a little more, just asking guys what they do after the games to keep their body feeling good and everything,' Ivory said.

Ivory also missed time in 2010 with a hamstring injury, a problem that held him back in college.

As of now, Ivory said he has no physical limitations.

But Payton is willing to take things slow for the time being.

'The key, though, is again this would have been like the first day of training camp literally in regards to football snaps,' Payton said. 'We just have to be smart and make sure we're getting him up to speed. I know he's in good shape. It's just getting acclimated to the pads, carrying the pads, the helmet and everything else that goes into playing that position.'

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