Darren Sproles returns to practice


There’s been some uncertainty about just how long Saints running back Darren Sproles would be out after breaking his hand before the team’s Week Nine game against the Eagles.

Some reports said he would miss four to six weeks and others maintained that he’d miss just one game, the latter of which went out the window when Sproles missed last Sunday’s 31-27 win over the Falcons. Sproles was a limited participant in practice on Wednesday, but a return for this week’s game would still leave him pretty close to that more optimistic timeline.

Interim coach Joe Vitt said, via Mike Triplett of the New Orleans Times-Picayune, that Sproles ran and caught the ball well during practice, which didn’t feature any hitting. There wasn’t any indication given about Sproles’ chances of playing, although the team would appear to be well stocked in the backfield even if Sproles misses another game.

Chris Ivory and Mark Ingram have both run the ball well in the last two weeks, leading Vitt to say that the backs were underutilized in the early part of the season. Sproles’ absence gave the team more of a reason to use them, raising questions about how all the pieces will fit once he’s back. There are worse problems to have, especially in a season that started with four straight losses.