Reggie Bush is set to return to the New Orleans Saints on Sunday for his first NFL action since fracturing his fibula against the San Francisco 49ers in Week 2.
With Bush on the mend, the Saints have gone 4-3, including two disappointing losses to the Arizona Cardinals and the Cleveland Browns.
A lot of people will point to other reasons as to why the Saints haven't performed all that well with Bush on the sidelines.
But Bush's return against the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday is an important one for a Saints team that has been forgotten about despite winning the Super Bowl last season.
So how will the Saints fare now that Bush is back?
Will Bush make a big splash in New Orleans and make the Saints contenders again?
As a guy who's from New Orleans, I hate to say this, but I'm not sure Reggie Bush will be completely healthy when he returns.
A fractured fibula is a pretty serious injury, and Bush has still been limited in practice this week.
Of course, the Saints could be holding him back to prevent further injury, but I generally take it as a bad sign when a player doesn't participate fully in practice the week before he's set to return.
Bush needs to be out there not only to test the strength of his injured leg, but to reacquaint himself with the Saints offense after missing so much time.
Reggie Bush is no Devin Hester in the return game, but then again, who is?
Bush is certainly an above-average punt returner, and he provides the Saints with an explosive threat on special teams.
Though Lance Moore has done an adequate job filling in for Bush, he does not provide the same type of big play potential that you get from Bush.
No offense to Moore, but he just isn't feared as a returner like Bush is.
Throughout Reggie Bush's career, one of the biggest knocks on him has been that's he's nothing more than a decoy.
Bush may have the potential to bust a big run or catch a long pass, but he's never proven to be the focal point of the Saints offense.
The widespread belief is that Bush gets paid all that money to take the attention away from the other weapons on the Saints offense.
And that argument may actually have some merit to it because he hasn't lived up to the expectations that come with being the No. 2 overall pick.
The number of touches Bush gets per game could in fact qualify him as a "decoy."
The Saints have had a bit of a revolving door at the running back position, with youngsters like Chris Ivory and veterans, such as Ladell Betts and Julius Jones, all getting their chances.
But at best Saints fans have seen mixed results from the running game, with Ivory's performance against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers earlier in the season being the only one that really sticks out.
In fact, New Orleans has the league's No. 25 rushing offense at just 93.7 yards per game.
Maybe a little spark from No. 25 will change that by opening up the running lanes for his fellow Saints running backs.
People are wondering whether Reggie Bush's return will make the Saints contenders again.
Huh? Forgive me, but when were the Saints ever not contenders?
A lot of people are jumping on the Eagles, Giants or Falcons bandwagons, but they've seemed to forget that the Saints are the defending Super Bowl Champions.
They're 6-3. They just beat the Steelers. They haven't gone anywhere.
They're just not starting off 13-0 again.
Say what you want about Bush's statistical contributions to the Saints since entering the league in 2006.
Yeah, he doesn't run for a ton of yards or score a whole lot of touchdowns.
What he does do, though, is make plays.
Bush has scored 33 touchdowns three different ways: in the return game, on the ground and through the air.
He's busted a 55-yard run, a 75-yard reception and a 71-yard return.
Bush is a big play waiting to happen.
Reggie Bush may be returning on Sunday, but the Saints will still be without their "other" running back Pierre Thomas.
Thomas has gradually worked into a role as the team's traditional-style running back since coming to New Orleans in 2007.
Over the last two full seasons, Thomas has more than 1,400 rushing yards and 15 rushing touchdowns, while Bush accumulated less than 800 yards and just seven touchdowns on the ground.
One could make the case that Thomas' return is much more important to New Orleans because he's a better between-the-tackles back who provides the Saints with more balance on offense.
Reggie Bush may not be a great traditional-style running back, but that doesn't prevent him from having an impact on the game.
Opposing defenses have to account for Bush on every play.
Whether he's lining up in the slot or catching passes out of the backfield, Bush's presence in the Saints offense will give defensive coordinators nightmares.
They have to alter their schemes and game plans around where Bush will be every time the Saints offense takes the field.
As a running back, Reggie Bush sure struggles with running the football.
In 54 career games, Bush has yet to top 2,000 rushing yards for his career, and he's never rushed for more than 565 yards in a season.
Bush also has just one season with a yards per carry average above 3.8. He's scored just 17 rushing touchdowns and he had only two carries in his one full game of action in 2010.
Needless to say, his statistical impact in the running game is minimal.
In the 2007-08 and 2008-09 seasons, Reggie Bush played in just 22 total games due to injury.
During the 2006-07 and 2009-10 seasons, Bush played in 30 games.
Take a wild guess when the Saints were at their best.
Yep, it was when a healthy Bush was on the field.
In the two seasons in which Bush played at least 14 games, the Saints made it to the NFC Championship game and won the Super Bowl respectively.
Reggie Bush doesn't play like a traditional running back. He's one of numerous weapons on the Saints offense and he might not even be the best running back on his own team.
But Bush does have the rare big play potential that not many players in the NFL have, and he's almost certain to provide some kind of lift to that struggling running game.
Oh yeah, there's also the fact that when Bush is on the field, the Saints tend to win more football games.
Though we can sit here and say that Bush isn't a statistical monster—which he certainly isn't—a player's impact doesn't just show up in the box score.
At the end of the day, what matters most is what's on the scoreboard.
Verdict: They're already contenders, but Bush will certainly help.