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Saints activate WR Ted Ginn Jr. off injured reserve

METAIRIE, La. -- The New Orleans Saints have activated receiver Ted Ginn Jr. off their injured reserve list to help their suddenly sagging offense in time for their playoff run.

Ginn, 33, has not played in a game since Week 4 and went on injured reserve in Week 7. But he returned to practice this week and said he feels "up to speed" after having arthroscopic surgery to "clean up" an unspecified knee injury.

It's unclear how much Ginn will play Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers. But it seems likely that he will play some role in the game. Otherwise, the Saints could have waited to activate him.

"I did what was best for the organization and what was best for me," Ginn said. "They said I.R., I went on I.R., went in there and worked my butt off to get back to my guys. I did what was best for us, the organization, my family, the whole team."

Now that he is returning to a Saints team that is 12-2 and needs one more win to lock up the NFC's No. 1 seed, Ginn said, "You always want to come back to a team that is on top and be a spark."

Ginn, known best for his speed and deep-threat ability, had 12 catches for 135 yards and two touchdowns in the first four weeks of the season. Last season, in his first year with New Orleans, Ginn had 53 catches for 787 yards and four touchdowns. He was particularly valuable in the playoffs, with 12 catches for 187 yards in two games, including an 80-yard TD.

New Orleans could certainly use another proven receiver after losing Ginn and Cameron Meredith to I.R. earlier this year -- not to mention Dez Bryant, who tore his Achilles tendon just two days after signing with the Saints.

Although they have gotten some nice contributions in small doses from some young, inexperienced receivers, the Saints haven't found anyone they can consistently count on besides Pro Bowler Michael Thomas.

The Saints' other receivers -- Tre'Quan Smith, Keith Kirkwood, Tommylee Lewis and Austin Carr -- have combined for a total of 11 catches the past four weeks.

The offense has really been struggling the past three weeks -- all on the road. They have scored a combined total of 50 points in three games, with only nine total points in the first half. Quarterback Drew Brees has thrown a total of two touchdown passes in those three games, with three interceptions.

"It's always challenging any time you have new guys that you really just haven't had a ton of time with," Brees said. "We all kind of laughed back during that Thanksgiving Day game when four undrafted free agents caught touchdowns, three of which it was their first touchdown ever, right? But it takes time, and there's so many nuances to this offense, too, and such a trust factor and the chemistry that goes into the passing game. And I think we've gone through some growing pains at times, but we're progressing."

The good news is New Orleans might get to play at home in the Superdome all the way until the Super Bowl.

To make room for Ginn, the Saints released newly signed offensive tackle Cornelius Lucas -- which is a good sign that Pro Bowl left tackle Terron Armstead might be ready to return from the torn pectoral that has sidelined him the past five games.