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Keisel optimistic he'll play Sunday vs. New Orleans

| Thursday, Oct. 28, 2010

• Left defensive end Brett Keisel didn't practice Wednesday, but he remains optimistic he will play against New Orleans on Halloween night at the Superdome. "I feel good. I feel like the healing process is coming along," said Keisel, who injured his hamstring against Cleveland on Oct. 17 and didn't play against Miami. "Hopefully, I'll be out there Sunday." Keisel, however, cautioned against rushing back to action. "Just have to be smart," he said. "Understand, we're going into our seventh game and there's a lot of football left. We've still got the bulk of the season, and I don't want to sit out more games than I need to." If Keisel can't go, Nick Eason will make his second consecutive start.

• Right guard Trai Essex is practicing after missing the past four games with an ankle injury. "I don't want to jinx myself," Essex said when asked if he expects to play against the Saints. "Let's just say I'm better than where I was last week. I'm going to practice and see how this week goes. Hopefully, I'll do well enough that they think I'm ready to play."

• After the NFL laid down the law on illegal hits last week, teams combined to produce the second-highest scoring weekend since the NFL-AFL merger in 1970. Coincidence• "It's definitely a big coincidence, but I think guys are still going out there playing," said linebacker James Farrior, the defensive captain. "I think guys are aware of the rule changes, aware of what the referees are looking for. Nobody wants to get hit with that big fine. I think guys are a little more careful now. It's definitely unusual. It's definitely strange."

• Tackle Flozell Adams (ankle) and linebacker LaMarr Woodley (hamstring) did not practice yesterday. For New Orleans, running back Reggie Bush (fibula), center Jonathan Goodwin (groin), cornerback Jabari Greer (shoulder), cornerback Tracy Porter (knee) and running back Pierre Thomas (ankle) missed practice.

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