Reggie Bush Injured: Will Pierre Thomas Step Up?

Drake Oz@drakeozbrSenior Writer IISeptember 21, 2010

SAN FRANCISCO - SEPTEMBER 20:  Reggie Bush #25 of the New Orleans Saints is consoled by Jeremy Shockey #88 before Bush leaves the field due to an injury during their game against the San Francisco 49ers at Candlestick Park on September 20, 2010 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

According to ESPN, Saints running back Reggie Bush will be out of action for "at least" six weeks after suffering a broken fibula in his right leg. The injury occurred in the fourth quarter Monday night against the 49ers after Bush attempted to recover a muffed punt.

Now, you can call Bush what whatever you want: overrated; a decoy; overpaid.

But I call him an integral part of the Saints offense.

Although Bush is frequently viewed as the lethal weapon who forgets his ammunition, Saints fans will now get a taste of how the team performs without him as part of its gameplan.

The Saints' triple-headed rushing attack of 2009 is down to just one: Mike Bell is in Philadelphia while Bush is in pain on the sidelines.

Now, Bush wasn't exactly putting up MVP-type numbers through the team's first two games. He had just nine catches for 63 yards, and seven carries for 18 yards in games against the Vikings and 49ers.

But he did beat the best linebacker in football, Patrick Willis on a 6-yard touchdown catch, and he also registered a 43-yard punt return.

So the never-ending debate continues. Will Reggie Bush's flashes of brilliance be missed, or will New Orleans fans hardly notice?

Or will it be a bit of both?

The obvious player to take on a bigger workload is Pierre Thomas, a more traditional running back who historically feasts on the team's Week Three opponent: the Atlanta Falcons.

In Thomas' last three games against the Falcons, he was the Saints' biggest threat out of the backfield, scoring a total of four touchdowns and registering 309 total yards from scrimmage.

Thomas has tallied  just 117 yards rushing in the team's first two games this season, but he does lead the Saints with 11 receptions, which is two more than Bush.

With the Saints offense failing to click on all cylinders like it did most of last season, the injury to Bush may actually be a blessing in disguise.

New Orleans ranks 31st in the league in rushing and 12th in passing. Of course, the Saints have played two of the league's best defenses, but Bush's injury could provide the opportunity for Thomas to shine.

Arguably the biggest problem with the Saints offense so far has been the lack of the balance on the offensive side of the ball. Rushing for just 64 yards per game is evidence of that.

No team is going to scrape by this season with an offense that can't control the clock and scores less than 20 points per game. With Thomas—and now DeShawn Wynn—in the fold, the Saints should rely on a more traditional running game than the team has done with Bush in the backfield.

Yes, Bush may be an all-purpose threat that is tough for opposing defenses to gameplan for, but Thomas has proven he can be one, too. Wynn can also be a reliable backup, and Chris Ivory should return around Week Four.

The Saints will certainly miss Bush's presence on the field. No matter how much he may frustrate Saints and fantasy football fans around the country, opposing defenses have to know where Bush is on every play.

With Bush gone for the next six weeks or so, the team does lose one of its biggest weapons.

But don't forget that this team won't wallow in its own sorrow. It will reload.