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Saints lose more players after win

By By Richard Dark / EMG staff writer
Sept. 16, 2003
METAIRIE, La. At this current rate, the New Orleans Saints personnel will be playing "both ways" by midseason.
The general good feeling coming out of the complete and otherwise dominant win Sunday over the Houston Texans was marred by the fact that Jim Haslett's bunch, already hurting from the loss of a pair of defensive starters, absorbed three more losses the day after, when it was revealed that linebacker Sedrick Hodge will probably miss up to 12 weeks after sustaining a hairline fracture in his right knee.
If that wasn't enough starting cornerback Dale Carter will also miss a month after suffering a concussion that included a broken right orbital (eye socket).
Meridian's Kenny Smith will be called on to fill in at the playmaking defensive tackle position because top draft pick Johnathan Sullivan also is among the wounded coming out of Sunday. Sullivan has a torn meniscus (knee cartilage) and will more than likely miss three weeks.
The team already knew they would have to go through the rest of this campaign without the
services of starting defensive end Darren Howard (out three months) and starting safety Mel Mitchell (season).
The team has not yet decided whether or not Mitchell will undergo surgery or let it heal on its own.
Sadly enough, the coach declined to mention the rest of the laundry list of bumps and bruises because of time constraints.
The only other one he did mention was the status of fullback Terrelle Smith, who has a strained left knee. Haslett said Smith should still be able to take part this Sunday's game when the team faces another banged-up squad, the Tennessee Titans, on the road. Former Alcorn State standout Steve McNair left Sunday's loss against the Indianapolis Colts with a dislocated finger. His status is not yet known.
For a headman who has lost five defensive starters since preseason, Haslett seemed weirdly upbeat Monday. Perhaps the convincing win in all three phases helped.
So, does he consider his backups capable?
It wasn't all medical reports and household chores on Monday, however; a film review led to more praise of his teams' all-around output.
Quarterback Aaron Brooks and new defensive end starter Willie Whitehead were the notable contributions. Brooks, the target of intense fan and media scrutiny since the days of the teams' last Superdome win way back last December, needed a solid game to quell the negative tide and he produced.