New Orleans Saints running back Reggie Bush left the team’s road game against San Francisco Monday night with a leg injury and did not return.
Bush was injured while recovering a muffed punt midway through the fourth quarter of the Saints 25-22 victory over the 49ers. With the wind swirling at Candlestick Park, punt returners for both teams had difficulty fielding punts.
ESPN is now reporting that Bush suffered a fractured fibula and will be out 4-6 weeks.
The most likely scenario is that Bush will miss six weeks. With the Saints bye scheduled for Week 10, such a scenario would result in Bush missing six regular-season games.
In 2009, New Orleans used the running back trio of Pierre Thomas, Mike Bell, and Bush. However, the Saints chose not to match the offer sheet Bell received from the Eagles. In addition, Lynell Hamilton, who was expected to replace Bell, suffered a torn ACL in the preseason and was placed on season-ending injured reserve.
Former Packers running back DeShawn Wynn was added to the roster on August 23rd, and the Saints also have undrafted rookie free agent Chris Ivory, who is currently out with a knee injury.
While Bush has not lived up to his lofty draft status or fulfilled the expectations that many had for him coming out of USC, he nonetheless is a key cog in New Orleans’ high-powered offence. He creates mismatches for opposing defences, forcing coordinators to commit extra defenders to him much of the time.
Now the Saints have a pair of unknown commodities in Wynn and Ivory at running back.
While with Green Bay, Wynn had a reputation for being an undisciplined player who lacked conditioning. At Florida, he failed to top 700 rushing yards in any of his four seasons there. He is a powerful runner but lacks top-end speed.
Ivory graduated from Tiffin University after spending three years at Washington State. He had injury problems for much of his college career and was dismissed from Washington State for violating team rules. He has decent size and good speed, running a reported 4.47 in the 40-yard dash at his pro day.
Given Wynn and Ivory’s lack of experience, the Saints are unlikely to rely on either player other than to briefly spell Thomas. In fact, fullback Heath Evans could be called upon as the primary back-up to Thomas.
Alternatively, it would not be surprising if New Orleans were to acquire a veteran free agent to bolster the position. Ladell Betts was released in the team’s final cuts and could possibly be re-signed.
In the receiving game, look for Lance Moore to be utilized in more formations. Moore has had success when given an opportunity and is best suited to replace Bush in most of the plays in which the Saints used him. In 2008, when Bush and wide receiver Marques Colston missed several games, Moore responded with a career season, catching 79 passes for 928 yards and a whopping 10 touchdowns.
From a fantasy perspective, the player who gains the most from Bush being out is clearly Moore. Consider him a decent option as a flex player in fantasy leagues that use that position.