Saints cut practice time as precaution; Hamilton only player to sit

New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton shortened practice by about 20 minutes Thursday in Coral Gables, Fla., trying to ensure that his players will be fresh for Super Bowl XLIV.

Temperatures were close to 80 degrees when the Saints began practice at the University of Miami. Players removed their shoulder pads for the last 40 minutes of the workout.

The Saints will have had two weeks to prepare for Sunday's game against the Indianapolis Colts, so Payton said he's not so much concerned about limiting the length of practice as he is with how good his players look when they're on the field.

"We're in the second week now and we can do that (shorten practice)," Payton said. "It was a little warm out here. I think you have to be a little careful. Some guys would worry about getting all the plays in. All I was concerned about was getting good work in, and we accomplished that."

Backup running back and special-teams regular Lynell Hamilton didn't practice for a second consecutive day, but he did some light jogging on his sore left ankle.

"He's feeling better," Payton said. "I'm hopeful of him playing."

Tight end Jeremy Shockey (knee), safety Darren Sharper (knee), cornerbacks Randall Gay and Malcolm Jenkins (hamstring), and linebacker Jonathan Vilma (knee) were limited in practice for the second consecutive day.

The Saints' defense, which produced seven turnovers during two playoff wins, worked on drills in which defensive players batted their way past two tackling dummies, then cut around a third before scooping up a rolling football.

For five minutes at the start of team drills, a sound system at the practice fields blared "Halftime (Stand Up & Get Crunk)," a Ying Yang Twins song that has become an unofficial Saints anthem at the Louisiana Superdome in recent seasons. Crowd noise blared during some other drills.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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