Sean Payton Injury: Coach's Knee Injury Will Not Slow Surging Saints

Tom LoughreyAnalyst IIIOctober 16, 2011

TAMPA, FL - OCTOBER 16:  Head coach Sean Payton of the New Orleans Saints watches his team from the bench as he was injured in the first quarter against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium on October 16, 2011 in Tampa, Florida.  (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)
J. Meric/Getty Images

New Orleans Saints tight end Jimmy Graham was pushed out-of-bounds just shy of a first down, but the real news came when he rolled onto head coach Sean Payton’s left knee.

Payton was helped off the field and seemed to be OK. The Saints coach threw on a knee brace and continued to coach. Payton received x-rays at halftime, and it was revealed that Payton had suffered a MCL tear and a tibial plateau fracture.

Payton was reportedly going to call his plays from the booth in the second half, but could not make it up to the booth.

However, the Saints have outscored the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 10-6 in the second half and have narrowed the lead to six points in the fourth quarter.

The Saints are 4-1 this season, having won their last four games after being outdueled by the Green Bay Packers in Week 1. New Orleans has one of the best offenses in the NFL and will likely be contending for one of the two byes in the first round of the 2012 NFL playoffs.

With a Detroit Lions loss today, a Saints win would tie them with the Lions and San Francisco 49ers (who beat the Lions) for the second-best record in the NFC.

The Saints will likely still have their coach back on the sideline for the next game, but they’ll be fine if they don’t. Modern technology allows the Saints injured leader to call the plays from almost anywhere.

The Saints leader is a former NFL quarterback for the Chicago Bears, so his toughness will probably be on full display next week when he rummages along the sideline during Sunday night’s game against the Indianapolis Colts.

Even if Payton isn’t able to be there, the Saints will have no problem knocking off the 0-6 Colts, who can’t seem to find their footing without Peyton Manning.

Next Sunday, Peyton and Payton will both be on the injury report.