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Spiller to play 'significant' role with Mark Ingram out

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New Orleans Saints running back Mark Ingram will undergo surgery Thursday to repair a tear in his left rotator cuff.

Coach Sean Payton announced the surgery a day after the team placed the starting running back on injured reserve.

Ingram first appeared to injure his shoulder in Week 10, and was limited in practice following the team's bye, but hadn't missed a game. Given that it's his left shoulder, we know his 90-MPH fastball following Sunday's touchdown run against the Panthers didn't exasperate the injury -- sorry, jokesters.

Ingram had been the Saints' workhorse in the backfield this season, especially after Khiry Robinson was lost for the year in early November.

New Orleans will now turn to a combo of C.J. Spiller and Tim Hightower.

"We're going to get a chance to see more now," Payton said of Spiller, via The Time-Picayune's Evan Woodbery. "...He'll play a significant role as will Tim Hightower."

A training camp knee injury set Spiller back and he hasn't looked consistently explosive in limited snaps this season. The running back said Wednesday he's ready to prove he can handle a larger workload.

"I think my skill set speaks for itself," he said. "Obviously, they're always looking for guys to perform ... and that's kind of the mindset I try to have. Am I performing when called? Am I being effective on the field? And that's the only thing I try to think about from my standpoint. ...

"I think I have the speed, you could probably look at the Dallas game. I think I have the cutting ability. You could probably go to the Giants game. So I feel great. But I'm always trying to get faster."

Spiller should get the first crack as the top back -- starting this Sunday against the Buccaneers -- but nothing we've seen from him this season suggests he'll be able to replace Ingram's reps solo.

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