Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Saints Nation: Injuries starting to mount

On the heels of the announcement that tight end Dan Campbell was placed on injured reserve, the Saints suffered two more pieces of bad news yesterday. First, Mark Simoneau was diagnosed with a torn triceps muscle, then it was announced that rookie safety Chip Vaughn would undergo knee surgery to repair a partially torn meniscus.

In Simoneau's case, the injury is not only serious but fairly detrimental to the Saints' depth because he was the primary backup at each linebacking position. What's more, the Saints have already lost backups Dan Morgan to retirement and rookie Stanley Arnoux to an achilles tendon tear. While no timetable has been set with Simoneau's recovery - the injury took approximately 8 weeks plus for Hollis Thomas to recover from last year. This means Simoneau will either be released or placed on IR this week. With the linebacking core's depth getting thinner by the day, the Saints will apparently bring in veterans Derrick Brooks (pictured) and Derek Smith for a workout. Both players are old and have long passed the peak of their performances, but if they have anything left in the tank they would be very serviceable backups. One thing that is undeniable is both players have accomplished careers: Brooks has been to 11 Pro Bowls and was the NFL defensive player of the year in 2002, while Smith started in every single one of his first 11 seasons in the league. At this point, assuming he's healthy, the only thing standing in the way of Brooks signing with the Saints is the apparent amount of money he expects coupled with the Saints' current salary cap woes.

In Vaughn's case, it's possible he could be ready by week 1 of the regular season - but his chances of going on injured reserve are there as well. The reason is the Saints have 5 other safeties that all have legitimate shots at making the team: Darren Sharper and Roman Harper are the starters, Usama Young is a project learning the position, Pierson Prioleau is a Gregg Williams favorite, and Chris Reis is enjoying a terrific camp. The Saints could decide these 5 are currently the best they have and they could place Vaughn on IR to shelve him until next year so they don't have to release the rookie. I think given the time he's going to miss it's a very plausible scenario.

Expect a decision on Simoneau (IR or release) to happen sometime today, and the signature of Derrick Brooks (or Derek Smith) to be on the heels of that. With Vaughn I think the Saints will wait to see how he recovers from surgery before making a decision.