We heard early this morning that the Saints were bracing for the possibility of Drew Brees missing time, and now that sounds like an absolute certainty. Brees is dealing with multiple fractured ribs as well as a collapsed right lung, Ed Werder of ESPN.com reports (on Twitter).
In a follow-up tweet, Werder notes that Brees suffered two fractured ribs during New Orleans’ win over the 49ers, and he had three other fractures on the other side from their win over the Bucs the week before that weren’t discovered until Monday’s X-Rays. He also writes that doctors have advised Brees to be cautious with the collapsed lung, which makes it sound like his return to the field won’t be imminent.
Brees has also been on the injury report this year with a shoulder issue, and all these ailments explain why Brees called it an “accumulative thing” after the game on Sunday. On the bright side Ian Rapoport of NFL Network tweets that injured reserve is not currently being discussed, so it sounds like there’s still a chance the injuries aren’t too long-term.
For however long Brees has to be sidelined, it will presumably be Jameis Winston under center, although Sean Payton could easily go with Taysom Hill as well at a moment’s notice. Winston filled in for Brees in the second half against the 49ers, completing six of ten passes for 63 yards. When Brees was on the shelf last year the Saints had Teddy Bridgewater start five games.
Even if it’s only a game or two, this is a massive opportunity for Winston to redefine his narrative and reset his value heading into unrestricted free agency next offseason. The former first overall pick signed a one-year deal with the Saints back in April. Many already believed this would be Brees’ final season, as he lined up a deal with NBC Sports for his post-playing days this offseason, and the toll his body is clearly taking might only make that decision easier. We’ll keep you posted as soon as we have more information on the situation.
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