Saints expecting Jimmy Graham back Sunday against Broncos

The Saints did not miss Pro Bowl tight end Jimmy Graham when he sat out against Tampa Bay with a sprained ankle. They'd just assume not have to push their luck next Sunday night at Denver.

“He's an instant matchup nightmare for defenses,” wide receiver Lance Moore said. “We have a number of different guys that can do a lot of different things once we have everybody in there.”

Newly reinstated interim coach Joe Vitt said Monday the early signs were positive about Graham's return.

“We're going to test Jimmy Graham out Wednesday, but right now we feel good about it,” Vitt said. “We think he's got a good chance to be full go.”

Graham was limited in practice last Thursday and Friday before the Saints decided to leave him in New Orleans for their trip to Tampa. He hurt his right ankle in the first half against San Diego on Oct. 7, and the injury lingered through the bye week.

Drew Brees threw four TD passes in the Saints' 35-28 victory against Tampa Bay, including a go-ahead 20-yard strike to Graham's replacement, David Thomas. Moore and fellow wide receivers Marques Colston, Devery Henderson and Joseph Morgan combined for 20 catches and 317 yards.

For one day, Graham's 99 catches and 1,310 receiving yards from 2011 were irrelevant.

“We've done it before,” Moore said. “I missed a lot of games in 2009 (when New Orleans won the Super Bowl), and the offense didn't really suffer much at all. Those touches get spread around to a lot of different guys. That's what we do.”

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