Drew Brees Has 'A Ways to Go' in Recovery From Broken Ribs and Punctured Lung, According to Sean Payton

Drew Brees is looking to return to action this Sunday when the New Orleans Saints take on the Kansas City Chiefs. However, it might take another week or two for the former Super Bowl MVP to get back on the field after puncturing a lung and breaking several ribs last month. Saints head coach Sean Payton spoke to the media Wednesday afternoon and said Brees "has got a ways to go still" in his recovery.

"It's pretty simple. It's just functionality, strength, throwing without soreness," Payton said Thursday morning after Brees was designated to return to practice on Wednesday as reported by ESPN. "I mean, there's a process, and last week with the trainers he had one throwing day, then yesterday the same way. So it's really [whether Brees is] asymptomatic, feeling good, strong and like he can function and be an asset and play well."

Brees has missed the last four games, which has led to Taysom Hill taking over as starting quarterback. In the four games, the Saints are 3-1, and Hill has completed 71 percent of his passes while throwing for 834 yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions. The BYU alum has also rushed for 209 yards and four touchdowns.

After the Saints' 24-21 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday, Brees talked about his health. "Each week I feel better," Brees said to Cox Sports Television. "I obviously have a plan in place as to the benchmarks that I need to hit in order to get to where I know that I can play and play effectively for this team. And all I can say is I'm close."

Brees is now eligible to return to practice from being on injured reserve, and the team has a three-week window to place him on the 53-man active roster. Along with their game on Sunday against the Chiefs, the Saints have a date with the Minnesota Vikings on Christmas Day and then end the season against the Carolina Panthers on Jan. 3. The Saints have clinched a playoff spot, but are looking to claim the No. 1 seed in the NFC so they have home-field advantage and a first-round bye in the playoffs. Currently, the Green Bay Packers are the No. 1 team with a 10-3 record. The Saints are also 10-3, but the Packers have the tiebreaker as they beat the Saints earlier this year.