The Saints have placed RB Pierre Thomas on injured reserve and signed RB Joique Bell to take his spot on the roster.
Thomas re-injured his left ankle at practice last week and was inactive for New Orleans' game against the Buccaneers in Week 17. He had missed nine games earlier in the year with an injury to the same ankle. He finished the year with 269 yards on 83 carries, scoring two touchdowns.
"With Pierre, he had a setback in practice last week and I think we got to that point in discussing it with him where it was at," Saints head coach Sean Payton said. "He came back and was very effective for a couple of games — particularly the Atlanta game — and yet the setback he had was substantial and we're at that point in the season where you want to do what's best and yet you want to be mindful of the injury the player has. So I think on all fronts — doctors, trainers, the player and ourselves — we felt that this was the best move."
Bell, a rookie from Wayne State, entered the league this past spring as an undrafted free agent with the Bills. He has played with the Eagles and Colts this season but has not recorded a carry. The Saints signed him off the Eagles' practice squad.
The way we see it
The Saints' offense took a major hit with the loss of RBs Chris Ivory, who was placed on I.R. on Tuesday, and Thomas. QB Drew Brees will likely have an increased workload through the air, although RBs Julius Jones and Reggie Bush remain capable backs.