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Saints FS Sharper wants back in lineup upon end of PUP stay

Darren Sharper is itching to return to the Saints' lineup as soon as he's allowed. Whether that actually happens or not remains to be seen.

*The Times-Picayune* reported on Monday that the veteran free safety could be back on the field in two weeks, when both he and linebacker Clint Ingram will be eligible to be activated off the physically-unable-to-perform list.

The pair can return to practice at that time, and the Saints will have a three-week window to decide if they want to activate them.

New Orleans placed Sharper and Ingram on the PUP list Sept. 4. Both are recovering from microfracture surgeries on their left knees during the offseason.

Sharper said Monday he's hoping to return in time for the Saints' Week 7 home tilt against the Cleveland Browns.

"I know I can play now," Sharper told The Times-Picayune. "Will I be better a month from now? Yes. Will I be better two months from now? Yes. So it's going to be a process of getting better and healthier each and every day that passes. But could I play right now? I think that I can."

Sharper worked out Monday morning with a trainer on the practice field. He said he doesn't know how the coaching staff will do once his PUP stay ends.

"I think I have to show them that I'm ready to play. I think that's going to be the main determining factor," said Sharper. "You can't (replicate that), no matter how hard you work out. You can lessen that blow and lessen that transformation into football shape by working out as hard as you possibly can. But when you get out there and play football with the pads on, it's going to be different.

On Sunday, the Saints played the Panthers without starting safety Roman Harper, then lost safeties Pierson Prioleau (chest injury) and Chris Reis (right shoulder).

Sharper said his teammates' injury woes only gives him more urgency to return.

"But I'm stuck in street clothes," he said. "Unless I can pull a Superman act and go change in a phone booth, I couldn't have gone out there and helped."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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