METAIRIE, La. — New Orleans Saints cornerback Delvin Breaux will remain on injured reserve for the rest of the season after he suffered a setback in his recovery from a broken fibula, coach Sean Payton confirmed Thursday.
Breaux had been designated to return from the injury, which he suffered in training camp, but an unspecified setback occurred less than two weeks into his return to practice.
It’s disappointing news for the Saints and their former No. 1 cornerback, but the team should be able to absorb the loss with young starters Marshon Lattimore and Ken Crawley playing well. Lattimore, a rookie, has been one of the top cornerbacks in the NFL this season, and it’s unclear if Breaux would have been able to make his way onto the field if he had been healthy.
Breaux, 28, is scheduled to become a restricted free agent in 2018. Payton said Thursday that his rehab is “going well” despite the setback, and the NFL Network reported last week that it was expected Breaux would need three to six weeks of recovery time.
He can still have great value if he can shake the nagging injury issues that have temporarily derailed his career. The physical 6-foot-1, 210-pounder played at nearly a Pro Bowl level in his first year with the Saints in 2015 after migrating from the CFL — often shadowing opponents’ No. 1 receivers. He broke his fibula in Week 1 last year and was limited to six games because of that injury and a shoulder injury. Then he broke his fibula again in a different location during training camp this year.
The Saints considered trading Breaux this summer because they had grown frustrated with nagging injury issues they felt he could have played through, according to a report by the New Orleans Advocate. That was before they discovered that Breaux’s fibula was broken. The injury was originally diagnosed as a bone bruise and, as a result, the Saints fired their team orthopedists.
Payton was asked about how upsetting the “saga” with Breaux has been.
“I wouldn’t describe it as a saga. It’s a setback,” Payton said. “Obviously, you want your players healthy. The rehab’s going well, he’s worked hard and diligent. It’s still not 100 percent, but it is going well and all the indications we have when we do the scans and the testing show it healing properly.”