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Posted: Wednesday, 11 December 2013 4:24PM

Butler won't be back this season, 5 Saints miss practice



Saints coach Sean Payton says outside linebacker Victor Butler won't be returning for the Saints' playoff push.

Meanwhile five players sat out of the first practice of the week as the team gets ready to take on the Rams in St. Louis.

The following players did not practice:
DT Brodrick Bunkley (back)  
TE Josh Hill (hamstring)  
S Rafael Bush (ankle)  
LB Keyunta Dawson (calf)  
T Terron Armstead (nose)  

DE Glenn Foster (knee) was limited.

The chances of Butler returning to the team appeared remote since he tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee and had surgery in June. Yet New Orleans kept the possibility of Butler's return alive by placing him on the club's physically-unable-to-perform list rather than on injured reserve. The window for Butler's return to the active roster closed this week.

Payton says Butler's rehabilitation has gone "extremely well," but the club felt it was best to let Butler continue his rehabilitation rather than risk rushing him back too soon.

Butler was acquired by the Saints as a free agent after starting his career in Dallas, where he played under current Saints defensive coordinator Rob Ryan.

Four rams players didn't practice Wednesday.

WR Tavon Austin (ankle)  
CB Janoris Jenkins (back)  
CB Brandon McGee (foot)  
RB Daryl Richardson (thigh) 

The Saints are favored by 5.5 to 6 points at various casinos.

The game was moved to a 3:25 kickoff on Sunday.

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