Tracy Porter hardly seemed interested in pacing himself during his first practice since training camp began.
The Saints’ starting cornerback chased receivers with the first-team defense, fielded punts, and even put in some extra work after Sunday evening’s practice making running, over-the-shoulder catches of balls shot high over his head by a machine.
After all that, Porter said he was ahead of schedule on his recovery from offseason microfracture surgery on his left knee.
“I was more than ready,” Porter said. “It was more psychological than anything. … Getting back out there, reacting to the receivers running routes, you’re going to have that little doubt in your mind. But I went to the sideline and talked to one of the trainers and he was like, `Man, you look good. Just don’t think about the knee. Go out and play.’ That’s what I did.”
Porter’s return was one of several encouraging developments for New Orleans on the injury front, at least as far as prominent players are concerned.
Also at practice were receivers Marques Colston and Robert Meachem.
Colston had been sidelined by swelling around his surgically repaired right kneecap for more than a week. Meachem left Friday night’s preseason opener against San Francisco with a lower back strain.
Colston said his knee needed rest after some heavy work in the early days of training camp.
“It’s just going to be a matter of managing it and getting it football-ready,” Colston said. “Going from a lot of straight line running and lifting, it’s totally different when you get on the field and start running routes. You get your body in situations you really can’t train for. I’m transitioning back into that and it shouldn’t be an issue moving forward.”
Colston said he expects to play in New Orleans’ second preseason game Saturday night in Houston. Porter, however, was not as certain.
“We just want to take it day to day right now,” Porter said. “The coaches, they know what type of ability I have. They have confidence in me. The last thing they want to do is to have me have a sense of urgency or have (trainers) having a sense of urgency and rushing me back out there too early and something goes wrong.”
Saints coach Sean Payton said Porter is not limited, but coaches will be careful about pushing him too hard.