“Rehab is going well. It’s still an option,” Payton said of a return from one of these players (via Fox 8 Live). “Both he (Ginn) and LeRibeus, I would say are on schedule. … I’m encouraged by how both of those guys are doing.”
Only one of these players can return this season. The Saints used one of their IR-boomerang slots on wideout/specialist Tommylee Lewis.
This decision presumably hinges on how Ginn’s recovery looks, with the starting wide receiver a once-integral part of New Orleans’ aerial attack. Ginn underwent surgery in October and is eligible to return from IR this week. But with the 33-year-old deep threat having yet to practice since the IR designation, it’s unlikely he’d be ready to go for Week 15 against the Panthers — even if the Saints use the IR-return spot on him this week.
New Orleans has featured a rotating cast of Michael Thomas sidekicks this season, with rookie Tre’Quan Smith being the most frequent complementary piece deployed. Ginn caught nine passes for 123 yards in the Saints’ first two games and recorded 787 receiving yards last season.
LeRibeus filled in as a spot starter up front in three games this season. He played in 16 Saints games in 2017. The 29-year-old lineman also is recovering from an ankle injury and would seemingly be the backup plan in case Ginn cannot come back.