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New Orleans Saints' Heath Evans, Sedrick Ellis unlikely to face Atlanta Falcons


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Saints Coach Sean Payton declined to give updates Tuesday on fullback Heath Evans and defensive tackle Sedrick Ellis, both of whom left Sunday's game at Miami with right knee injuries.

It appears likely that both players will be out for Monday night's game against Atlanta, but there have been no indications that either injury is season-ending.

Payton isn't required to offer details before Thursday, when the Saints hit the practice field for the first time this week, so he doesn't want to give the Falcons any insight before he has to.

Payton did not offer encouraging news about the players' MRI results -- which he sometimes does when test results are negative. And neither player appeared in the locker room while it was open to the media Tuesday morning.

General Manager Mickey Loomis also did not offer updates, but he made references to using replacements during the Saints' weekly coaches show Monday night.

When discussing the impressive performance of Anthony Hargrove in Ellis' absence Sunday, Loomis said, "He's going to get a lot more opportunities now." And when talking about the defensive tackle rotation, Loomis said, "We've been running a rotation system with Hargrove, Remi (Ayodele) and Sedrick. And now it's going to have to be Kendrick Clancy, who's now gotten healthy at a good time for us, depending on how severe and how long it takes Sedrick to rehab from his injury."

Hargrove had two sacks Sunday after Ellis was injured in the second quarter. He had three tackles for loss and two quarterback hurries. It was his best performance of the regular season after a strong preseason.

Clancy was the Saints' full-time starter at nose tackle before he was sidelined by a knee injury in Week 1. He has been healthy for two weeks but has fallen behind Ayodele on the depth chart.

Loomis said the Saints will evaluate free-agent options at fullback this week and likely will bring some players in for tryouts, "based on the length of time that Heath is out." He said the Saints may also consider using backup tailback Lynell Hamilton or backup tight end David Thomas at fullback.

Payton declined to update linebacker Scott Fujita's status until Thursday. Fujita was out last week with a strained calf.

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