Saints fans living in Louisiana who are also huge fans of local college powerhouse LSU, will now have to wait an extra couple of weeks for the opportunity to see one of their local heroes.
Yesterday, the team announced that they were placing undrafted rookie free agent wide receiver Travin Dural and defensive lineman Devaroe Lawrence on the non-football injury list.
As New Orleans Advocate beat writer Nick Underhill noted yesterday: Dural's recovering from a minor shoulder injury that is not considered serious, and he can be activated as soon as he passes a physical or is deemed healthy enough to return to action. Dural will continue to count against the 90-man roster.
The shoulder injury was one he originally suffered last year during his senior season at LSU in a game against Florida, that forced him to miss 2 games (the regular season finale vs. Texas A&M and a victory over Louisville in the Citrus Bowl).
So why exactly are the Saints placing Dural on this list if his injury isn't considered serious?
The "non-football injury" (NFI) list, is functionally equivalent to the PUP list (physically unable to perform) but is used for players who are unable to practice as a result of conditions unrelated to football.
The NFI designation, despite its name, also covers injuries sustained during football played outside the NFL, including PREVIOUS injuries suffered from playing college football --- and this is WHY Dural landed yesterday on the NFI list.
Underhill added that Dural's been off from any physical activity since last month's Mini-Camp ended.
This is a minor shoulder injury. Should be good soon https://t.co/rnImeVGBqm
— Nick Underhill (@nick_underhill) July 20, 2017
"Official" attendance was not reported by the team at that time, but both players were spotted on the field during those Mini-Camp sessions. Lawrence -- who is a defensive lineman that played at Auburn -- appeared to be limited.
So what does this mean for Dural in the "bigger picture"?
There's not a whole lot to be concerned about, and what it means essentially is that the Saints are bringing Dural slowly so that he won't possibly re-aggravate the injury any further as it fully heals.
Essentially, the start of Training Camp as far as Dural practicing with the team in full drills, is being put on "pause".
Dural will participate in team meetings, and take advantage of the training and medical facilities at Airline Drive, but he won't practice with the team in drills with full pads on until he's been cleared medically by the team medical staff.
So in essence, those fans who live locally in Louisiana that were hoping to see Dural performing up close during one of the team's designated 11 practices that are open to the General Public, will now likely have fewer opportunities to see him than they would have before.
The shoulder injury last year was just one of several injuries that earned Dural the "injury prone" label during his time at LSU. He was expected to play as a true freshman in the 2011 season, but a knee injury in fall camp forced him to redshirt.
He also tore a hamstring at the end of his junior year in 2015, a gruesome injury which effectively stopped him from applying for early entry into the 2016 NFL Draft last year.
The Saints are obviously aware of that, which then gives you a better understanding of why they're taking this precautionary step with the 23-year old Dural.
The former Breaux Bridge High School star is still likely to be in the mix for a shot at making the team's final 53-man roster; and will be one of SIX wide receivers competing for the team's #5 WR spot --- along with last year's 5th WR Tommylee Lewis, 3rd year veteran Corey Fuller, and fellow undrafted free agents Jordan Williams-Lambert, Jake Lampman and Justin Thomas.
And should Dural not make it onto the final roster, then you'd have to assume that he will be a virtual "lock" to be signed to the Saints Practice Squad for the duration of the upcoming 2017 regular season.
However, for right now Saints fans / LSU fans will have to be patient, while the team presses the "pause button" on the start of Dural's NFL career.......