Sean Payton Injury: Leg Injuries Make Saints Coach Questionable for Practice

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistOctober 17, 2011

TAMPA, FL - OCTOBER 16:  Coach Sean Payton of the New Orleans Saints directs play from the bench after injuring his leg in a sideline collision against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers October 16, 2011 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton suffered multiple injuries to his left leg after tight end Jimmy Graham was pushed into him on Sunday, according to ESPN. Payton's scheduled to undergo surgery today after the collision caused a fractured tibia and torn MCL.

Payton told the New Orleans Times-Picayune that he hopes to be back in the Saints' offices Tuesday, but wasn't sure about being at practice Wednesday. He admitted that he might have to spend some games in the coaches' box.

"Because it's a fracture it's different," Payton told the paper. "If it's the MCL you can have the brace, but the fracture on the outside means the weight bearing part of it really changes."

Payton is among the shrewdest offensive play callers in the league and it's unclear how working from the booth will affect him. A late Saints rally came up short with the 47-year-old coach watching from the trainers' room.

There's no space on the injury report for coaches, but if there was it sounds like Payton would be listed as a limited participant at best on Wednesday. New Orleans is such a well-run organization that they should be able to survive a couple practices while he heals.

Even though it was a freak accident, it's surprising similar incidents don't happen more frequently. There are a lot bodies on both sidelines and players get shoved out of bounds so often, it's really a recipe for disaster.

One infamous occurrence of an injured coach on the sideline involved Penn State's Joe Paterno, who suffered similar injuries in 2006 against Wisconsin. He coached the rest of the season from the press box.

With Drew Brees leading the offense, Payton can rest assured its in good hands. Brees is one of the few quarterbacks who can be entrusted to run an entire offense without input from the sidelines.

Payton will be back on the sidelines before long helping his team in a playoff chase. Sunday's loss dropped them into a tie with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the NFC South. That despite the Saints having a huge point differential advantage (+58) over the Bucs through six weeks.

Sean Payton's a fiery competitor, so he'll probably be back on the field quicker than his doctor would like, but he wouldn't have it any other way.