METAIRIE, La. Both of the Saints' starting inside linebackers were missing from practice Thursday, meaning three of the team's projected starting linebackers were not on the field for the final session before Friday's second preseason game.
Curtis Lofton (undisclosed) and Jonathan Vilma (left knee) both were out.
Coach Sean Payton confirmed Thursday afternoon that Vilma had a surgical cleanup of a knee that has given him problems since 2011. Vilma practiced Tuesday, going fully through practice, including 11-on-11 portions. He missed Wednesday as he traveled ot Philadelphia.
Payton didn't seem concerned that Vilma is having a procedure on a knee that already has been surgically repaired more than once.
'This is a little different procedure so we'll how he does when he gets back,' Payton said.
Payton didn't discuss what was wrong with Lofton, though he has missed practiced twice already in the preseason with back issues.
They were joined by outside Sam linebacker Junior Galette (left knee), who hasn't practiced since Aug. 7 when he left the field early with his injury.
Only Will Smith remains of the projected starters right now.
Meanwhile, receivers Marques Colston (foot) and Courtney Roby (toe), center Eric Olsen (left foot) and linebacker Chris Chamberlain (undisclosed) didn't practice.
Colston hasn't practiced since Aug. 8, the day before New Orleans' game against Kansas City, which he didn't play in.
Martez Wilson was had his helmet and was in shoulder pads, but has been limited all week as he continues to get back into football shape after dislocating his left elbow.