Saints without star DE Hendrickson vs. Bears

4:49 PM ET

METAIRIE, La. — The New Orleans Saints are still hoping to get offensive stars Alvin Kamara and Michael Thomas back in the lineup for Sunday’s playoff opener against the Chicago Bears.

But they ruled out one of their top defensive playmakers, defensive end Trey Hendrickson, with a neck injury on Friday.

Hendrickson has been one of the NFL’s bigger surprise breakouts this year with a team-high 13.5 sacks. He originally suffered the injury in Week 15 and did not play in Week 16. But he returned to play in Week 17 and practiced on a limited basis Wednesday before being sidelined on Thursday and Friday.

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The Saints’ No. 4-ranked defense does have good depth at DE, however. They have two experienced starters in perennial Pro Bowler Cameron Jordan and Marcus Davenport. And young backup Carl Granderson has provided some juice with four sacks in the past five weeks.

The Saints also ruled out veteran guard Nick Easton with a concussion. But the rest of their injury report has been looking up this week. Nickel safety C.J. Gardner-Johnson was activated from the reserve/COVID-19 list on Friday. Starting safety Marcus Williams (ankle), versatile backup quarterback

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