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Bush gets precautionary MRI

METAIRIE, La. (May 15, 2006) -- Reggie Bush underwent an MRI exam on his left hamstring after he spent all three days of the Saints ' rookie camp limited to watching or participating in half-speed drills.

Bush and Saints coach Sean Payton so far have shown only minimal concern about the injury.

"It feels good, but obviously not 100 percent," said Bush, adding he could not recall having a hamstring injury before. "That's why we're taking precaution."

Bush said he expected to be "100 percent" by the end of the week, well ahead of the Saints' full-squad minicamp slated for June 2-4.

While Bush's exceptional speed, his ability to quickly accelerate, and his agility are what Saints fans and coaches are so eager to see, Payton was more concerned that Bush simply learn his new offensive system.

"He's been able to get these walkthrough snaps and mentally he understands what we're trying to do. ... He's following along with the scripts," Payton said.

Bush was able to run when he wanted, racing forward at the end of the last practice to haul in a kick that was falling 15 yards in front of where he set up to receive it. Coaches would have preferred he didn't even do that much.

"The last thing I want is something that all of a sudden goes from being not too big, to becoming a deal that, all of a sudden, he's not in minicamp," Payton said. "So I just want to make sure we're being smart and not being dumb. The good news is it's felt better .... Just from talking to Reggie himself, I think it's something that's minor."

Bush's impact on New Orleans already is more than minor.

Well-versed Catholics know there really was a St. Reginald of Orleans, who lived in France about eight centuries ago. The Heisman Trophy-winning Bush may soon become known as Saint Reginald of New Orleans -- now that the coincidence has been pointed out by local religious figures who celebrated Bush's donation Monday to a struggling Catholic school for children with learning difficulties.

"That might be a good new nickname," said Bush, who was given a plaque that included a miniature reproduction of a fresco of St. Reginald, along with a brief written history of the saint's life.

In a city known for its Catholic heritage, where actual nuns and a well-known fan dressed as Moses attend Saints home games, some have proclaimed that divine intervention brought Bush to New Orleans. Until the eve of draft day, few expected Bush to be passed over by Houston, which had the first pick, followed by the Saints at No. 2.

Bush received the plaque and other mementos during an appearance at the Holy Rosary School, which was in danger of closing before parents embarked on a fundraising campaign. When Bush heard about it, he joined with one of his sponsors, Adidas, to contribute $50,000.

About 210 children between pre-kindergarten and 10th grade, all wearing white T-shirts with a black and gold fleur-de-lis, erupted in cheers when Bush showed up. As a gesture of thanks, the children presented him with a football and flag with their autographs on it.

"We know he's signing autographs all the time, so we thought we'd give him ours to say thank you -- and he seemed very touched," said Holy Rosary President Patty Glaser, who wore a fleur-de-lis of black and gold rhinestones on her lapel.

Bush said he "almost got emotional" during the brief presentation.

"This is a special thing for me to be able to give back to these kids," said Bush, whose father is a pastor. "It's a blessing to be able to do that ... to put smiles on their faces and help them stay in school, which is very important."

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