Saints will monitor Sharper closely in training camp

The hope for the New Orleans Saints is that safety Darren Sharper is ready to take the field when the Super Bowl champions take the field at the start of training camp.

But the Saints are going to bring along the crafty veteran slowly as he’s still recovering from microfracture knee surgery this offseason, a procedure that no doubt impacted his market value in free agency. He missed minicamp and OTA’s. Sharper, who turns 35 in November, also missed two games last season with a knee issue. The hope is he will not be affected during the season this time around.

“I think early on we'll probably have a pitch count with snaps,” Saints coach Sean Payton told Pro Football Weekly. “Then, based on how (he's) doing and how (he's) responding, we'll increase the reps.”

Malcolm Jenkins, the club’s first-round draft pick a year ago, has been worked in at free safety and the plan is to have him ready in the event he’s needed while looking longterm and grooming him to take over in 2011 with this likely Sharper’s final season with the Saints.

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