METAIRIE, La. - Reinforcements could be on the way for the injury-ridden New Orleans Saints.
The team designated three key players to return from injured reserve Tuesday in linebacker Kwon Alexander, defensive end Marcus Davenport and receiver Tre'Quan Smith.
The players are not guaranteed to play in New Orleans' Week 7 game against the Seattle Seahawks. By designating them to return, the Saints activated a three-week window to bring them back to the active roster.
The last time the Saints took the field, against the Washington Football Team in Week 5, they had 11 players on iIR, one on the Physically Unable to Perform list and another in the midst of a six-game suspension — a tally that does not include starters like Erik McCoy and Terron Armstead, who have missed several games with injury.
Many of those players were expected to play big roles on the team this season, including the three the Saints designated for return Tuesday.
Both Davenport and Alexander started in the season opener against the Green Bay Packers and played well, but both landed on injured reserve shortly thereafter.
Davenport recorded a sack and two tackles for loss in that game, and Alexander showed burst in his first game after he ruptured his Achilles late last season. The Saints have cycled through multiple players replacing their production in the lineup since.
The Saints were anticipating Smith would step into a larger role in 2021, but he has not yet played this season after sustaining an injury in training camp.
With neither Smith nor star wideout Michael Thomas in the lineup, the Saints have received little production from their receiver corps this season. Deonte Harris, who left the Week 5 win with a hamstring injury after two offensive snaps, is averaging 47.2 receiving yards per game to lead the team.
Earlier this week, the Saints also designated kicker Wil Lutz to return.