Saints defense getting healthier

Updated: October 22, 2003, 7:11 PM ET

NEW ORLEANS -- The New Orleans Saints got one of their injured defensive players back on the practice field on Wednesday.

Linebacker Sedrick Hodge practiced for the first time since injuring his knee against Houston in the second game of the season.

Coach Jim Haslett said they would wait to see how Hodge was toward the end of the week before deciding if he would play Sunday against the Carolina Panthers.

Defensive tackle Grady Jackson had surgery on the small finger of his left hand on Wednesday to repair a torn ligament. Haslett said he expected Jackson back at practice Thursday or Friday.

Wide receiver Donte' Stallworth did not practice because of a strained left quadriceps. He said he expects to play Sunday. Return specialist Michael Lewis sat out practice because of soreness, he also expects to play against Carolina. ^------<

THE MAN: Quarterback Aaron Brooks was selected as the NFC's Offensive Player of the Week for his performance in Sunday's 45-17 victory over the Atlanta Falcons.

Brooks completed 23 of 30 passes for 352 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions. He also posted a career-high passer rating of 148.2, which was also the highest rating in the NFL last week, and ran for 15 yards on three carries.

It was the 20th game of his career with 250 yards or more passing, which ties a club record. It was also the 17th time that Brooks has had a passer rating of 100.0 or higher. The Saints are 12-5 in those games. Brooks was solid in the first half, going 15-of-18 for 281 yards and three scores in leading the Saints to a 35-14 lead at the break. Two passes were dropped by receivers and he threw the ball away on the other to avoid a sack.

It is the second time Brooks has won the player of the week award. He also was honored in Week 7 last season after leading the Saints to a fourth-quarter rally and a 35-27 win over the San Francisco 49ers. ^------<

TICKETS AVAILABLE: At the close of business Wednesday the Saints had 1,600 tickets left for Sunday's game with the Carolina Panthers in the Superdome.

The remaining tickets must be sold by noon Thursday to lift the television blackout. The Saints have a streak of 25 consecutive sellouts -- counting regular-season and playoff games -- dating to Oct. 15, 2000.

There are only single tickets remaining for the Falcons' game Nov. 16.

This story is from ESPN.com's automated news wire. Wire index