Bradley Handwerger / Sports Reporter

METAIRIE, La. When Saints coach Sean Payton first broached the topic of when cornerback Tracy Porter would return, he guessed sometime around the second preseason game on Aug. 20.

Turns out, Porter is back even before then.

Porter, the Saints starting right cornerback, missed the first 12 practices of preseason as he rehabbed his left knee from offseason microfracture surgery.

He returned Sunday, ending speculation that something more was wrong with his knee, especially since it was similar to the surgery former Saints safety Darren Sharper had heading into last season.

'The procedure itself there are some similarities in,' Payton said. 'Certainly he's younger. I thought when he came back from the lockout, his rehab was on schedule. There weren't any setbacks.'

As for the timing, Porter said he was ready.

'There wasn't too much pain,' Porter said. 'There wasn't too any swelling. So, they wanted to give it a shot, running out here and get the juices flowing and to get back at it. I was more than ready.'

He jumped right in, spending the entirety of practice working with the first-team defense.

There was no full-scale hitting, but Porter still had to overcome one last thing.

'It was more psychological than anything,' Porter said, adding later, 'You're going to have that little doubt in your mind. I went to the sideline and talked to one of the trainers and he was like, 'Man, you look good. Don't think about the knee. Just play. 'And that's what I did.'

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