Saints running back and special teams returner Darren Sproles has been ruled out indefinitely and will not play Monday’s contest with the Eagles. Sproles is recovering from surgery to repair a fracture in his hand.

Sproles, who according to ESPN, leads the NFL in yards per touch for running backs over the last two seasons with 10.2, will be sorely missed. He is arguably one of the most explosive, versatile players in the NFL. According to ESPN, he has the second-most catches and third-most rushing attempts. In addition, he is the team’s primary kickoff and punt returner.

Joe Vitt told reporters Sproles would be missed, but that other, younger players must step up at the wake of this newfound opportunity.

“We have pretty good running backs around here and this is part of the National Football League with injuries. It’s next man up. We will miss Darren Sproles, but this is going to be a great opportunity for some of our other running backs to receive some more reps and show what they can do.”

With Sproles’ absence, the Eagles will have one less playmaking threat to worry about. Former first-round pick Mark Ingram and Pierre Thomas will split carries in support of Drew Brees. This will allow the Eagles to put more focus on the Saints’ receivers, specifically Tight End Jimmy Graham.

Eagles’ Special Teams Coordinator Bobby April may also get a few hours more sleep leading up to the game, as either rookie Travaris Cadet or receiver Lance Moore will assume return duties. Wide receiver Courtney Roby, the Saints former primary returner, is also out with a shoulder injury. The Eagles have marginally improved in kick return coverage after a poor start to the season, culminating with David Wilson’s clinical performance in Week 4.

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