By Alex Hernández-USA TODAY SportsNew Orleans Saints linebacker Michael Hoomanawanui and cornerback Brandon Browner are back on the field for the first time since injuring their necks in Week 2.
They were both in full pads on Friday and said it was the best they’ve felt in years.
Hoomandawanui had a slight limp, but he is “feeling good,” and Browner said he was feeling “pretty good.”
The Saints had a bye this week after they lost to the Miami Dolphins in Week 6.
They played two more games against the Jacksonville Jaguars and Oakland Raiders in the first two weeks of the season.
The Saints lost to Buffalo Bills 31-20 in Week 3, then beat Miami in Week 5 before losing at Detroit and Oakland in Week 9.
New Orleans is on pace for its fourth straight winning season, which is its best start since 2007.
It is also the best start in franchise history.
The franchise has a .932 winning percentage in the second half of the regular season.
Hoomandawanui had his neck broken in the third quarter of Sunday’s 34-20 win over the Cleveland Browns.
It was the third time in his four-year career he has suffered a neck injury.
It took a couple of days for him to get back to full speed, but his return is “a big boost,” coach Sean Payton said.
Browner is out for the season with a fractured left collarbone.
The former sixth-round pick has been one of the Saints’ best players since arriving in the NFL in 2014.
He played in three games last season, and he was held out of the first three games of the 2017 season with an ankle injury.