Darren Sproles injury: Is this the week?

Ron Chenoy-US PRESSWIRE

Darren Sproles returned to practice on a limited basis for the New Orleans Saints on Wednesday, and coach Joe Vitt said he was encouraged with what he saw.

The New Orleans Saints have rediscovered their running game while running back Darren Sproles has been out of action the past two games. But that attack could become even more potent with the possible return of Sproles, who according to NOLA.com returned to practice this week in preparation for the team's game against the Oakland Raiders on Sunday.

Sproles has missed the past two games with a broken hand. Interim head coach Joe Vitt said he was "very, very encouraged" with Sproles' limited participation Wednesday.

The three-headed attack of Chris Ivory, Mark Ingram and Pierre Thomas has been a huge factor in wins over the Atlanta Falcons and Philadelphia Eagles the past two weeks for the Saints (4-5), who after an abysmal start now find themselves in the thick of the NFC Wild Card race.

Sproles, one of quarterback Drew Brees' favorite targets and a big-time receiving threat out of the backfield, should only help make the offense even more dangerous. The running back in his second season with the Saints is also a threat in the return game.

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