New Orleans Saints running back Mark Ingram will miss the rest of the season with a torn rotator cuff in his left shoulder. The Saints placed Ingram on season-ending injured reserve Wednesday, and the 25-year-old will undergo surgery on Thursday. Ingram's injury is the latest in a long line of physical setbacks for the Saints, who have endured another frustrating season in 2015.
Ingram originally injured the shoulder against Washington in week 10 when he suffered an AC joint sprain. He continued to play through the pain barrier before aggravating the injury against Carolina last weekend. He should be fully recovered in time to participate in the majority of the team's offseason program. Ingram's 2015 season ends with 769 yards on 166 carries (4.6 YPC) and 6 touchdowns. Additionally, he caught 50 passes for 405 yards. He joins fellow runner Khiry Robinson (broken leg) on IR.
With the former Heisman trophy winner on the shelf for the final four games of the year, New Orleans will now turn to C.J. Spiller and Tim Hightower in the backfield. The Saints are expected to use a rotation at the position, with Hightower likely to absorb Ingram's early-down work, while Spiller continues to play his role in the passing game as well as soaking up extra reps in Ingram's stead. Rookie Marcus Murphy could also be in line to see some work in the backfield.
Both Hightower and Spiller should be popular waiver wire adds this week. Hightower may have more upside with the veteran seemingly locked in to Ingram's short-yardage and goal line work. Spiller has PPR upside, and his fnatays owners will hope for a better outlook now that he is on the cusp of a greater role.
Big things were expected out of free agent signing Spiller, but an August knee injury and the team's own on-field struggles have prevented the former first-rounder from getting off the ground in his first season as a Saint. Outside of a game-winning performance against Dallas in week 4, Spiller has largely been a spectator, though that will surely change now that Ingram is out of action. Coach Sean Payton has stressed that the team has been trying to get Spiller more actively involved in the offense, and mentioned Thursday that the team "will get a chance" to see what the 28-year-old can bring to the table. The Saints have struggled to ignite their screen game -- an area in which Spiller could thrive -- and the offense as a whole has been hit-or-miss throughout the season.
New Orleans travels to Florida to face the upstart Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday. Tampa defeated the Saints in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in week 2.