Wile 49ers saw one of their key defenders, defensive end Ray McDonald, return to practice today, the Saints watched as one of theirs sat out with an ankle injury. Safety Roman Harper, who led the Saints in sacks and tackles this season, missed Wednesday's session along with receiver Lance Moore (hamstring) and tight end John Gilmore (toe).
According to Mike Triplett of the New Orleans Times-Picayune, Harper and Moore were both in uniform and did some on-field work Wednesday, the Saints' first on grass this week. In addition, linebackers Jonathan Vilma (knee) and Jonathan Casillas (knee) both were limited. Receiver Robert Meachem (knee) practiced in full.
McDonald, meanwhile, missed last week's two sessions as well as Tuesday's with a right hamstring strain. He and fellow defensive end Justin Smith have important roles in breaking down Drew Brees' pocket and throwing the prolific Saints quarterback out of rhythm. The 49ers will release their first practice participation report of the week later this afternoon.
49ers participation report:
Did Not Participate: TE Delanie Walker (jaw)
Limited Participation in Practice: CB Chris Culliver (knee), DE Ray McDonald (hamstring), WR Kyle Williams (concussion), WR Ted Ginn (ankle).
Saints participation report:
Did Not Participate In Practice: Wednesday TE John Gilmore (toe), S Roman Harper (ankle), WR Lance Moore (hamstring)
Limited Participation in Practice: Wednesday LB Jonathan Casillas (knee), LB Jonathan Vilma (knee)
Full Participation in Practice: Wednesday WR Robert Meachem (knee)