Saints Notebook: Deuce's debut goes well

New Orleans Saints running back Deuce McAllister was optimistic after his first game in nearly a year last Saturday against Houston. That, plus news on Charles Grant and Drew Brees, are part of today's Saints Notebook.

Saturday marked Day 327 since Saints running back Deuce McAllister tore the ACL in his left knee in Week 3. He wound up having microfracture surgery on his right knee as well.

Playing on the same field where he was injured, McAllister participated in Saturday night's game with the Houston Texans and passed his first test by rushing for 16 yards on four carries, including a 4-yard blast up the middle on the first play from scrimmage. He also caught two passes for 10 yards.

"It went well," said McAllister, who'll likely get a little more work in Saturday night's exhibition game at Cincinnati. "I ran with some toughness, and I put my foot down a couple of times in there. I still have some things to work on, but it was a good start. I've had to stay patient through this whole process, and I'm still trying to make all the effort of the last year pay off."

"It was good to see him back and in there getting some confidence in his first game back," coach Sean Payton said. "I thought he ran the ball well with the carries that he had."

"I was a little tentative at times because you have to make sudden moves," said McAllister, who was cheered loudly by fans whenever he touched the ball. "I was just happy to be playing after sitting out 10 or 11 months. It's a starting point, something to build upon."

TRACK TIME FOR BUSH: Perhaps in honor of the Olympics, Saints running back Reggie Bush made an impromptu impersonation of a track star during Saturday's game with the Texans.

Early in the second quarter, quarterback Drew Brees was flushed out of the pocket. After scrambling to his left, he dumped a pass off to Bush, who turned up field and quickly headed for the corner of the end zone.

As Texans cornerback Jacques Reeves closed in and dove to make the tackle, Bush leaped over him from the 2-yard line and landed in the end zone on both feet to complete a 12-yard TD. Bush turned around and glared at Reeves, whom he stiff-armed on a play early in the drive.

GRANT ARRAINGMENT CONTINUED: Saints defensive end Charles Grant, who was to appear in an Early County, Ga., court on Aug. 15 to be arraigned in his involuntary manslaughter case did not have to make the trip when the hearing was continued.

Attorney Edward Tolley said the arraignment likely will be rescheduled for later this month. Tolley said the judge issued an order for all defense attorneys involved in the case to file written motions by Aug. 18.

According to the New Orleans Times-Picayune, one of the issues to be determined is whether the defendants in the case will be tried together or separately. Grant was one of seven men indicted on the felony charge of involuntary manslaughter and misdemeanor charge of affray for their alleged involvement in a fight that led to the shooting death of a pregnant woman.

Grant and Tolley have maintained his innocence, saying he was neither an instigator nor a willing participant in the fight.

COURTING BAD LUCK?: When he was signed as a free agent late in training camp, wide receiver Joe West was issued jersey No. 13 by longtime Saints equipment manager Dan Simmons.

It would have been understandable if West had requested a different number for his first practice with the Saints.

West was the third player to wear the number during the first 17 days of training camp in Jackson, Miss. The others were Carlos Robinson, who was waived after injuring his hamstring early in camp, and Curtis Hamilton, who was also cut.

West wised up, however, and switched to No. 15 for his second practice.

HAIR TODAY, GONE TOMORROW: Quarterback Drew Brees was sporting a new look in training camp. During the team's nearly three-week stay in Jackson, Miss., he grew a goatee and brought it home.

"It was kind of a camp thing, but it made its way back to New Orleans. ... We'll see," Brees said when asked how long he planned to keep it. "My wife thinks it's all right for now, so I guess it will stay."

One day later, the goatee was gone.

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