The New Orleans Saints are set to activate defensive end Payton Turner from the injured reserve (IR) list. Despite the closing window for Turner’s activation, the Saints, opting against placing him on season-ending IR, plan to bring him back for the regular-season finale, according to a tweet from Katherine Terrell of ESPN.com. Turner, a former first-round pick, suffered a turf toe injury in the team’s season opener, requiring surgery for recovery.
Having missed the last 13 games, Turner’s absence has been notable, given his history of injuries. As a rookie two years ago, he missed 12 games, spending the second half of the season on IR with a shoulder injury. While he avoided IR in his sophomore season, Turner still sat out for nine games. In the limited opportunities he had this season, Turner struggled to secure a starting position in the lineup, with only three sacks and six quarterback hits in 14 games.
Turner’s return is pivotal for the Saints, especially with defensive stalwarts Marshon Lattimore and Michael Thomas likely out for the remainder of the season. The team has opened a 21-day practice window for Turner, aiming to activate him before the regular season concludes; otherwise, he would lose eligibility to return from IR.
His productivity and ability to secure playing time have been questionable, facing competition from established players like Cameron Jordan, Carl Granderson, Tanoh Kpassagnon, and Marcus Davenport. Turner’s preseason standing was uncertain, initially slated for a backup role behind Jordan and Granderson. The emergence of second-round pick Isaiah Foskey further diminished his playing prospects.
Despite the recent absences of Foskey, Turner faces a challenging future, with three consecutive seasons marked by injuries and a looming decision on his fifth-year option. His ability to bounce back from his latest setback will play a crucial role in determining his place within the Saints organization.
Heading into Week 18’s crucial matchup against the Falcons, the New Orleans Saints face a pivotal moment with their postseason aspirations hanging in the balance. The final regular-season injury report sheds light on the team’s health status.
Two players, Lonnie Johnson (knee) and Landon Young (knee), have been ruled out for the game. Alvin Kamara, a key player for the Saints, is listed as questionable with an ankle injury, making him a game-time decision on Sunday. Despite good progress throughout the week, Kamara’s availability remains uncertain.
Other players carrying a questionable designation include A.T. Perry (illness), Juwan Johnson (chest), Khalen Saunders (concussion), Kendre Miller (ankle), Payton Turner (toe), and J.T. Gray (illness). The absence of Kamara during Friday’s practice raises concerns, while additional players like Miller, Johnson, Gray, Young, and Nephi Sewell were also not spotted.
Notably, Chris Olave (ankle) and Erik McCoy (foot) do not carry a game designation, indicating their readiness for Sunday’s game. Head coach Dennis Allen confirmed that Payton Turner will be activated and is set to play in the upcoming matchup.
On the Falcons’ side, their final injury report outlines three players ruled out: Drew Dalman (ankle), DeMarco Hellams (concussion), and Troy Andersen (pectoral). Additionally, Mike Hughes (concussion), Zach Harrison (knee), and Taylor Heinicke (ankle) are listed as questionable.
As the Saints aim to secure a victory to boost their playoff chances, the uncertainty surrounding Kamara’s status adds a layer of suspense to the pivotal Week 18 clash against the Falcons. The team will closely monitor the key players’ conditions leading up to the game.