Reggie Bush was back in the lineup for the New Orleans Saints, and the running back looked a bit rusty after missing eight games because of a broken right leg.
The first pass thrown in Bush’s direction bounced off his shoulder pads and helmet. He later dropped a likely touchdown and then fumbled on a punt return to set up a short touchdown for the Dallas Cowboys, although the Saints rallied for a 30-27 win on Thursday.
“I don’t like to think of myself as rusty at all, but maybe it is,” Bush said. “That was just a mental error on my part. ... Those are things that we can’t have and that they can get you beat. Next week, we’ll get better.”
Bush had been listed as questionable after practicing on a limited basis during a short week of light team workouts before the Saints’ first Thanksgiving Day game. He got hurt Sept. 20, the second week of the season, while recovering his muffed punt at San Francisco.
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Although Bush started, the versatile running back was limited. He carried only once for 1 yard and caught only one of the three passes thrown his way for 12 yards.
“There’s certainly frustration,” coach Sean Payton said. “The first game back for a player such as him is always difficult. He’s healthy, and there are some things that he’ll obviously have to continue to work on.”
TITANS COACH UPDATE
Tennessee offensive coordinator Mike Heimerdinger is back at work and will call the plays Sunday when the Titans visit the Houston Texans before starting his treatment for cancer.
Coach Jeff Fisher says Heimerdinger met with his doctors and will start his treatment Monday. The coordinator feels good enough to return to work, and Fisher said they continue praying for Heimerdinger on a very emotional day Thursday.
But the Titans (5-5) are happy to see Heimerdinger well enough to return. Rookie quarterback Rusty Smith will make his first NFL start against the Texans (4-6).
PEAS FOR SUPER BOWL
The Black Eyed Peas will be the featured halftime performer at the Super Bowl.
The Grammy award-winning group will perform Feb. 6 at Cowboys Stadium.
Since forming in 1995, The Black Eyed Peas have sold more than 28 million albums worldwide and nearly 31 million digital tracks. Their new album, “The Beginning,” is set for release Tuesday.
Last year’s featured performer was The Who. Other halftime acts have included U2, the Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band, Paul McCartney and Prince.
GATES IN PAIN
San Diego Chargers star tight end Antonio Gates was in pain as he tried to practice in a limited role Thursday.
Gates has missed the last two games because of a torn plantar fascia in his right foot. He said Wednesday that he wanted to practice in the days leading up to Sunday night’s game at Indianapolis to gauge his progress.
He participated in individual drills and a number of team plays Thursday.
“I wanted to see how I would respond to defenders being in the way and making unexpected cuts in the flow of a route,” Gates said. “Everything has been controlled to this point. I didn’t finish, but I’m incredibly sore.”
Washington Redskins running back Clinton Portis was placed on injured reserve because of a torn muscle in his lower abdomen.
Portis returned from a groin injury Sunday against Tennessee, but lasted only five carries before getting hurt again. He will have surgery and require at least two months of rehabilitation, ending his season with a career-low 227 yards on 54 carries with two touchdowns.
Also Thursday, the Redskins signed running back Andre Brown to the 53-man roster and signed offensive lineman Jacob Bender to the practice squad.