A dramatic scene unfolded in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome yesterday when Saints CB Tracy Porter lay motionless on the field after Porter dove low into Bucs WR Mike Williams on the 2nd play of the Saints' 27-16 victory. Fearful Saints and Bucs players took a knee on the Astroturf while worried coaches paced nervously along the sidelines. Saints fans prayed for Louisiana's homegrown hero of Superbowl XLIV, best remembered for sealing the Colts' fate when he pick-sixed Peyton Manning with 3:16 left in the game.
Today, he's back in the training room with his teammates. Minutes ago, Saints' Head Coach Sean Payton said tests revealed Porter's neck injury wasn't significant and he's working with trainers on its effects to his check.
The collision with Williams occurred at the line of scrimmage on the 2nd play of the game. Porter dove into Williams' leg to bust-up a pass on 2nd-and-7. After the run-in, Porter tried to get up then fell on the field to lie on his face The team's medical personnel and trainers rushed to his side and play halted for 10 anxious minutes. Porter briefly moved his legs before trainers told him to lie still. As a good sign, he moved his hands and feet. They turned him on his back, removed his face mask before strapping him on to a stretcher. He never lost consciousness and continued to communicate with medical personnel and his teammates before being carted off.
As he was transported away, Porter gave a "thumbs up" sign to cheering fans who chanted "Porter! Porter!"
Preliminary neurological tests performed in the Superdome's medical facillity showed Porter was OK, but he was taken to an unidentified local hospital for a thorough neurological work-up and observation as a precaution.
Later Porter Tweeted, "This is why I love the #WhoDatNation. We are one big family. I'm doing good u guys, I look forward to being back soon. I love u guys."
Williams also hurt his left leg in the collision. He, too, lay on the field field briefly before limping to the locker room. Williams later returned to go down with the Pirate Ship.
Luckily, Porter's injury didn't derail his teammates' focus. "Yeah, man, we got to get his back. When you see one of your soldiers go down, it's kind of sad ... but we got to bounce back," safety Roman Harper said. "We just got to go. You know, next man up and let's get this thing rolling."
If Porter misses any playing time, the Saints will turn to 2nd-year CB Patrick Robinson and veteran backup Leigh Torrence. Robinson filled in on base snaps until he left with a shoulder injury Sunday. Torrence subbed on nickel packages and as a backup for Robinson. Refs flagged both players for ridiculous penalties, including a pass interference call that set up the Bucs' only TD late in the game (Torrence.)