It appears New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara's time on the sidelines is coming to an end.
Saints coach Sean Payton was encouraged by the way Kamara looked in practice with the team Wednesday, and said "I fully expect him to be ready to play" Sunday against the Atlanta Falcons.
Kamara missed the Saints last two games as he dealt with injuries to his ankle and knee. They were the first games he was required to miss because of injury in his career.
In his place, veteran running back Latavius Murray turned in a pair of outstanding performances.
Murray was a workhorse in his two starts without Kamara in the lineup, recording 32 touches against the Chicago Bears and following that up with 30 touches against the Cardinals. He turned that workload into 307 scrimmage yards, including back-to-back 100-yard rushing games.
Before those two outings, Murray was averaging 6.8 touches and 34.2 scrimmage yards per game
"It was great to see the way Latavius stepped up and played in a more one-dimensional role than our normal rotation," Payton said.
Before his injury, Kamara was averaging just under 20 touches per game, a career high. When asked if Murray's effectiveness may change the way the Saints use Kamara after the injury, Payton said, "we'll be smart, and yet it all matters, it all factors in."
"The good news is, the way (Murray) played and the way Alvin's played, we feel like we're really good at that position," Payton said. "They're smart players, they're real good teammates, they're guys that can block, they're guys that can handle the pressures, that can handle the receiving element of it.
"Obviously, they're uniquely different, but we'll sort through that and figure it out."
Want to give Saints QB Teddy Bridgewater a ride to the bike shop? 'I refuse to walk to the Dome'
New Orleans Saints backup quarterback Teddy Bridgewater needs a buddy with a pickup truck to deliver his bicycle to a repair shop. In a Wednesday evening tweet, Bridgewater wrote: "I refuse to walk to the Dome this Sunday. Anyone with a truck want to haul your boy to the bike shop Friday?"
Bridgewater is, of course, the brilliant sub who kept the team at the top of its game for weeks, going 5-0 until regular quarterback Drew Brees was able to recover from a throwing thumb injury.
During a locker room interview after the Saints Oct. 6 victory over Tampa Bay, Bridgewater charmed all Who Dat bicyclists when he announced that he travels to home games in the Dome on his two-wheeler. Better yet, No. 5 encouraged Saints fans to follow his example. "I had no idea it was a big deal but if anyone wants to ride with me, I'm open to it," said Bridgewater in a WWL TV interview.
Like rolling paparazzi, a bicycle-borne Times-Picayune -- The New Orleans Advocate reporter staked out a stretch of Poydras Street on the morning of the next home game on Oct. 27, hoping to pedal with Bridgewater. Unfortunately Teddy never appeared.
A text message from Bridgewater's agent explained that "his bike had a flat tire."
Which may be the cause of Teddy's current predicament.
As those of us who regularly bicycle to the Dome on game days can tell you, it's not especially hospitable territory. Considering the potholes, impatient or inattentive drivers and other pitfalls, facing defensive linebackers might have been just the second-most-hazardous thing Bridgewater did on game days. To fellow cyclists, the fact that Bridgewater bikes to games seems like a rallying cry.
Bridgewater had already contributed to bicycle consciousness when he introduced his "bike life dance" to the Who Dat Nation celebration repertoire in 2018.
-- By Doug Maccash/NOLA Media Group, New Orleans