Jimmy Graham suffers back injury after awkward fall; Brees, Vitt say he's 'fine'

Graham injured his back Wednesday making a catch. BUT HE'S FINE OK? (US Presswire)

Jimmy Graham is one of several players that the Saints absolutely need to stay healthy in 2012. Drew Brees is clearly the most important player to the team, but Graham (along with Darren Sproles) isn't all that far behind in terms of making that offense hum. So it's never good to have him suffer a back injury while making a catch in practice before the season even begins.

According to Brees and interim coach Joe Vitt, however, Graham is "fine."

"He was fine," Brees said. "In typical Jimmy Graham fashion he was completely selling out for a ball that was way up over his head. He ended up catching it for a huge play in practice. But at a time that we're just wearing shells and trying to take it easy of course he's going 1,000 miles an hour and just came down a little funny. Just kind of needed to shake it off, but he's fine."

Per Larry Holder of the New Orleans Times-Picayune, Graham "landed hard on his back while making a touchdown catch." Afterwards Graham went to the sideline "where he immediately fell to the turf in pain." Graham stretched his back and "walked around gingerly" and apparently avoided speaking with the media following practice.

"I saw him take a fall right here," Vitt told reporters. "If there was anything serious the trainers would've come to me. He just gone in there to get stretched out. He's fine."

So ... whew? Maybe: Brees and Vitt are obviously pointing out how great Graham feels, but if he was in serious pain on the sideline and didn't talk to reporters, well, that doesn't really sound like "fine," now does it?

That being said, Graham's a tough dude. He was able to walk. He shook off the injury. If he can't get back out to practice or is unable to play in the Saints preseason game against the Patriots on Thursday -- his status is currently unknown -- then we can start getting concerned.

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CBS Sports Senior Writer

Will Brinson joined CBS Sports in 2010 and enters his seventh season covering the NFL for CBS. He previously wrote for FanHouse along with myriad other Internet sites. A North Carolina native who lives... Full Bio

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