Bradley Handwerger / Sports Reporter

METAIRIE, La. When defensive tackle Aubrayo Franklin went down with a sprained right knee in the second preseason game at Houston, the original prognosis for his return was between 2-4 weeks.

He appears to be on pace to return exactly in that time frame and expects to play in Thursday night's season opener at Green Bay.

'Yeah, that's the plan,' Franklin said Sunday. 'Everything looks like it's on track right now so I'll be ready to go.'

Saints coach Sean Payton didn't comment on practice participation following Sunday's practice and didn't announce injury status of any player.

But Franklin said he's feeling good at this point, saying, 'God blessed me to heal back. So, (I) can't be sad about that.'

Franklin was back at least dressed for practice the final week of preseason, but didn't participate.

The goal, it seems, was always to get ready for this week.

'The regular season games are more important,' Franklin said. 'It was a good opportunity to go out there and play with the guys and get a feel for how each other plays with each other. I'm happy now I'm here and I'm ready to go back.'

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