METAIRIE, La. The good news for the Saints Thursday?
Only two players remained out of practice, down from five a day earlier.
The bad news?
The two who remained out have played key parts in the team's success.
Right guard Jahri Evans (hip) and safety Malcolm Jenkins (knee) sat out for the second straight day.
Safety Kenny Vaccaro (concussion/back), receiver Marques Colston (knee) and defensive end Tyrunn Walker (knee) all returned to practice on a limited basis. Tight end Jimmy Graham (foot) also was limited.
The return of safety Roman Harper (knee) seems to be approaching after he was limited for the second straight day. This is about when Harper and those involved in his rehabilitation from the unspecified knee injury believed he would return.
'(It) feels good. Right along where I need to be,' Harper said.
When asked if he was hopeful or optimistic about playing this week, he said, 'all of the above.'
The time off has allowed Harper to help those younger players stepping up for him, telling them what he's seeing from the sidelines. Not that he's not itching to play again.
'It's so much harder when we're actually doing well and everybody is flying around making plays,' Harper said. 'That's when you miss it because you're like, there's a couple of plays out there with my name on it.'
Defensive end Cameron Jordan (ankle), who practiced fully Wednesday, was limited Thursday.
The rest of the roster was full, including receiver Kenny Stills (knee), who was limited a day earlier.