The Saints believe Brees is in perfect health and medics have cleared him to play, the source told Schefter.
It will be the first meeting between the two elite quarterbacks as their teams look to the No.1 seed in their respective conferences.
Brees, 41, returned to training this week after missing four games with 11 broken ribs and a punctured lung. Saints coach Sean Payton insisted Brees would not be rushed into the roster and that he should “be asymptomatic, feel good, strong and like he can function and be an asset and play well ”. Brees apparently reached the standard he was meant to achieve.
“There is an element of recovery, there is an element of strength. And I’ll know when that moment comes, ”Brees said in his most recent interview with Cox Sports Television on Sunday night.
The Saints (10-3) went 3-1 in the absence of Brees with Taysom Hill as the starting quarterback. They suffered a 24-21 loss to Philadelphia last week, which currently leaves them in line for the NFC No.2 seed. (The Green Bay Packers 10-3 hold a tiebreaker.)
With Brees back in the starting lineup, Jameis Winston will continue to be the Saints’ No.2 quarterback, with Hill playing his jack-of-all-trades role, including some parts at QB, a source told Schefter .
Brees has always been proud of trying to beat doctors’ schedules for wound healing. But he might have even more motivation than usual in this 20th season, as it could be his last.
Although Brees never announced when he planned to retire, sources have told Schefter he is expected to do so after this season. Payton also hinted that the Saints were bracing for the possibility when talking about the team’s long-term quarterback prospects. And Brees already has a post-game career as an analyst for NBC.
Until last year, Brees had only missed one game in his entire NFL career due to injury. But he missed five games in 2019 with a torn thumb ligament and four more games this year.
Brees suffered a punctured lung and some of his ribs broken in a Week 10 win over the San Francisco 49ers. He played the last eight minutes of the first half – and made two touchdowns – before being physically unable to continue playing after half-time.
Doctors believe the rest of his broken ribs occurred a week earlier in the Saints’ Week 9 victory at Tampa Bay.
Although Brees faced scrutiny for his lack of field pitch early in the season, he and the Saints have rebounded impressively from a 1-2 start. He ranks third in the NFL overall QBR (80.6) with 18 TD assists, three interceptions, a league-leading 73.5% completion percentage and 2,196 passing yards.
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.