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Saints, Bears will be without starters

The Associated Press

METAIRIE, La. — The New Orleans Saints have ruled out sack leader Trey Hendrickson and offensive guard Nick Easton for Sunday’s playoff game against Chicago.

Hendrickson had career-high 13-¢ sacks this season, which tied for second in the NFL. But he missed practice late this week because of a nagging neck injury that also sidelined him from New Orleans’ penultimate regular season game.

The Saints have depth at defensive end with Cam Jordan and Marcus Davenport, along with second-year reserve Carl Granderson, whose five sacks ranked fourth on the team.

Easton has concussion symptoms. He has started nine games this season. First-round draft choice Cesar Ruiz is likely to start in his place at right guard.

Chicago Bears

The Chicago Bears might have to get by without some important players after leading tackler Roquan Smith and rookie receiver Darnell Mooney missed practices all week because of injuries.

Both were listed as questionable for Sunday against the Saints, as was cornerback Jaylon Johnson.

Smith (left elbow) was hurt on Green Bay’s first possession last week, while Mooney (ankle) exited in the fourth quarter of Chicago’s loss to the Packers.

Smith’s injury could leave the Bears without a disruptive force at inside linebacker and make containing the Saints that much more difficult, particularly if star running back Alvin Kamara returns from the Reserve/COVID-19 list as expected.

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