Sean Payton – Drew Brees’ return depends on how the week goes


METAIRIE, La. – Sean Payton has said the decision on Drew Brees’ status for Sunday’s scoring game against the Kansas City Chiefs will depend on how the New Orleans Saints quarterback feels in practice this week.
“It’s quite simple. It’s just functionality, strength, painless throws, ”Payton said Thursday morning after Brees was designated to return to training on Wednesday. “I mean, there’s a process, and last week with the coaches he had a pitching day, and then the same yesterday. So it’s really [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 awaiting further clearance from doctors, Payton replied, “No, I think everyone’s watching. Pay attention to everything. We’ll just see how this week goes. ”

Brees has missed the last four games after suffering 11 broken ribs and a punctured lung. The Saints (10-3) went 3-1 in his absence with Taysom Hill from the quarterback.

Payton stressed that the Saints will not rush Brees back, and he said Wednesday afternoon that Brees “still has a ways to go” in his recovery. But the signs have been positive so far, and Brees described himself as “close” last Sunday night.

“Every week I feel better,” Brees said in his weekly interview with Cox Sports Television following Sunday’s 24-21 loss to Philadelphia. “I obviously have a plan in place as to where I need to hit to get to where I know I can play and play effectively for this team. And all I can say is I’m close.

“There is an element of recovery, there is an element of strength. And I’ll know when that moment comes. ”

Brees has been officially named to return from the injured reserve on Wednesday, meaning he could return to training and the team now has a three-week window to get him back to the active 53-man roster. It can be activated at any time during this window.

The Saints will have two games in six days over the next week, as they are expected to host the Minnesota Vikings on Christmas Day.

Brees, 41, has already beaten doctors’ scheduled times during his recovery – something he’s always been proud of. However, he showed he had a limit when he let Payton know he was physically unable to continue during halftime of the Saints’ Week 10 victory over the San Francisco 49ers. Brees suffered a punctured lung and some broken ribs eight minutes from the end of the first half of that game, but he stayed to complete two touchdowns. Doctors believe the rest of his broken ribs happened a week earlier.


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