Drew Brees, Michael Thomas pop up on injury report

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As the Saints close in on possible a playoff bye, they definitely could use it.

Two of the best players on the team emerged on Wednesday’s injury report, from a practice that didn’t happen.

If practice had happened, quarterback Drew Brees and receiver Michael Thomas would have been limited with knee and hand injuries, respectively. Neither player appeared on the Week 16 report.

There’s no reason to believe that either would be unavailable for Sunday’s game at Carolina, but both would surely benefit from the bye week that the Saints can earn with a win and either a Packers loss at Detroit or a 49ers loss at Seattle. If both Green Bay and San Francisco lose and the Saints win, New Orleans would earn the No. 1 seed.

It both Green Bay and San Francisco win, the Saints will be the No. 3 seed even with a victory at Carolina.

Also limited for the Saints on Wednesday, if the team had practiced, were linebacker Kiko Alonso (quadricep), safety Vonn Bell (knee), safety Chauncey Gardner-Johnson (knee), guard Andrus Peat (forearm), and guard Larry Warford (knee). Cornerback Eli Apple (ankle), receiver Krishawn Hogan (hamstring), and safety Marcus Williams (groin) would not have practiced, if the Saints had practiced.