Saints starting tackle Jammal Brown injured at practice

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) -Trainers carted New Orleans Saints starting left tackle Jammal Brown from the practice field Tuesday, when he crumpled to the ground with an apparent right knee injury.

After practice, head coach Sean Payton said he was not certain if the injury would require surgery.

"His knee appeared stable on the practice field, but we've just got to wait and see," Payton said. "A lot of times you can tell right away if there's looseness in the joint, but there appeared to be pretty good stability."

Payton said Brown would have an MRI and that he hoped to have results Tuesday night.

Brown was drafted in the first round out of Oklahoma, 13th overall, in 2005. He started at right tackle as a rookie and was moved to left tackle last season, when he was selected as a Pro Bowl starter.

He's part of an offensive line that allowed 23 sacks in 2006, fourth lowest in the league.

If Brown cannot return to the lineup for the Sept. 6 regular-season opener in Indianapolis, second-year player Zach Strief might fill in.

Payton, however, was critical of Strief's performance Sunday in a preseason loss to Pittsburgh.

"He didn't play too well this last weekend, so there'll be competition over there," Payton said.

Strief, drafted out of Northwestern as one of the Saints' two seventh-round picks, played in nine games last season and did not allow a sack.

"My first though was, 'I hope Jammal's OK,"' said Strief, the Saints' top reserve at left tackle during his rookie season. "He's a big part of this offensive line, a big part of the team."

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