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Ailing Saints RB Ivory out at least six weeks on PUP list

METAIRIE, La. -- The New Orleans Saints placed Chris Ivory, last season's leading rusher, on the physically unable to perform list Saturday and cut two special-teams stalwarts while trimming their roster to an NFL-mandated 53 players.

Ivory, who led the Saints with 716 rushing yards and five touchdowns in 2010 despite playing in just 12 games, has yet to recover from offseason foot surgery or sports hernia surgery. After missing all of training camp on the failed physical list, he'll be out at least six weeks before he's allowed to return to practice.

By placing Ivory on the PUP list, the Saints will head into Thursday night's season opener at Green Bay with four running backs, including first-round pick Mark Ingram and free-agent acquisition Darren Sproles. Joique Bell earned his way onto the roster after leading the team during the preseason with 182 yards on 31 carries.

Ivory, at least for now, isn't thinking about his place on the depth chart when he returns.

"They say everybody has their role on this team," Ivory said. "I just feel like I have a role, and I'm not sure what role it is that they want to use me as, but when that time comes, there we go."

Meanwhile, safeties Chris Reis and Pierson Prioleau were let go after being key members of the Saints' special-teams unit the past two seasons.

Prioleau served as the special-teams captain in 2010 and led the Saints with 21 tackles on that unit.

Reis, who spent the final 12 weeks of 2010 on injured reserve with a shoulder injury, might best be remembered for recovering the Saints' onside kick in Super Bowl XLIV, a play that helped turn momentum in a close game.

New Orleans kept just two tight ends on the roster -- Dave Thomas and Jimmy Graham -- and two fullbacks, Kory Hall and Jed Collins.

With depth issues at defensive end -- the Saints released Alex Brown in the first round of cuts and starter Will Smith is suspended for the first two games for violating the NFL's banned-substance policy -- New Orleans kept Junior Galette, Jeff Charleston, Turk McBride and first-round draft pick Cameron Jordan.

Additionally, the Saints now enter the season with just four safeties: Malcolm Jenkins, Roman Harper, Jonathan Amaya and undrafted rookie Isa Abdul-Quddus.

New Orleans released tight ends Tory Humphrey, Michael Higgins and Tyler Lorenzen; offensive tackles George Foster and Jordan Black; cornerbacks Trumaine McBride, Quincy Butler and Terrail Lambert; linebackers Clint Ingram and Dwight Roberson; wide receivers Montez Billings, Andy Tanner and Jarred Fayson; defensive tackles Dexter Larimore and Swanson Miller; running back Chris Taylor; quarterback Sean Canfield; center Cecil Newton and long-snapper Kyle Nelson.

The Saints placed running back Patrick Cobbs, safety Paul Oliver and receiver Joe Morgan on season-ending injured reserve while putting defensive end Greg Romeus, whom they took in the seventh round of April's draft, on the injured reserve/non-football list.

Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press

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