METAIRIE, La. – Sean Payton said the decision on Drew Brees’ status for Sunday’s game against the Kansas City Chiefs comes down to how the New Orleans Saints quarterback is feeling during practice this week.
“It’s pretty simple. It’s just functionality, power, pain-free casting,” Payton said Thursday morning after Brees was assigned to return to practice on Wednesday. “I mean there is a trial, and last week with the trainers he had a throwing day, and yesterday the same way. So it’s real. [whether Brees is] asymptomatic, feeling good, strong and like he can function and be an asset and play well. “
When asked if the team is waiting for further approval from the doctors, Payton said, “No, I think everyone is monitoring. Pay attention. We’ll just see how this week goes.”
Brees has missed the last four games after 11 broken ribs and a leak in the lung. The Saints (10-3) have gone 3-1 in his absence with Taysom Hill from the quarterback.
Payton has stressed that the Saints will not rush Brees back, saying on Wednesday afternoon that Brees “still has a way to go” in his recovery. But the signs so far have been positive and Brees described himself as “close” last Sunday evening.
“I feel better every week,” said Brees in his weekly interview with Cox Sports Television after Sunday’s 24-21 defeat in Philadelphia. “I clearly have a plan as to the benchmarks that I need to meet to get where I know I can play and play effectively for this team. And I can only say that I am close.
‘There is a recovery element, there is a power element. And I know when that time will come. ‘
Brees was officially assigned on Wednesday to return from the injured reserve, meaning he was able to train again and the team now has three weeks to return him to the active 53-man roster. It can be activated at any time during that window.
The Saints will have two games in six days for the next week, as they will host the Minnesota Vikings on Christmas Day.
Brees, 41, has a history of beating doctors’ planned timetables in recovering from injuries – something he’s always been proud of. halftime of the Saints’ Week 10, the San Francisco 49ers win. Brees suffered a punctured lung and some broken ribs with eight minutes to go in the first half of that game, but stayed in to complete two touchdown drives. Doctors think the rest of his broken ribs occurred a week earlier.