As the injuries piled up in the preseason and week 1 for the New Orleans Saints, the fanbase had the week 5 bye week circled on the team's schedule.

Optimistic the team would get a number of key players back following the bye, the Who Dat nation was hoping to have close to a full deck of cards by the time they square off against the Seattle Seahawks this Monday night.

Today, three starters on injured reserve (IR) were designated to return.

Linebacker Kwon Alexander, defensive end Marcus Davenport, and wide receiver Tre'Quan Smith can all now return to practice.

The news doesn't mean the team will have close to a full deck of cards this Monday, but it's a possibility.

WHAT DOES DESIGNATED RETURN FROM INJURED RESERVE MEAN?

Does it guarantee he will be back for Monday night's game? No.

The Saints have a 21-day window from today to either activate the three returning players to the 53-man roster, or they will have to remain on IR for the duration of the season. All are allowed to practice with the team between now and whenever the team may activate them onto the 53.

Yesterday, kicker Wil Lutz was also designated to return from IR.

All-Pro wide receiver Michael Thomas has spent the season on the PUP (physically unable to perform) list. This is the first week he's eligible to return to practice as well, though it's unclear if he will.

WHAT DOES DESIGNATED RETURN FROM INJURED RESERVE MEAN?

Does it guarantee he will be back for Monday night's game? No.

The Saints have a 21-day window from today to either active Lutz to the 53-man roster, or he must remain on IR for the duration of the season. He is allowed to practice with the team between now and whenever the team may activate him on the 53.

New Orleans (3-2) plays at Seattle (2-4) this Monday night. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:15 central.

Listen to the game locally on ESPN1420.

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