Drew Brees is back. According to Adam Schefter of ESPN, the New Orleans Saints quarterback is set to return after missing the last four games due to multiple injuries. He will start on Sunday when the Saints take on Kansas City Chiefs.
Brees was dealing with a punctured lung and 11 broken ribs. The Saints believe Brees is fully healthy, and doctors have cleared him to play, per ESPN. The timing of Brees' return is big as the Saints (10-3) are looking to clinch a first-round bye and home-field advantage in the playoffs. He returned to practice this week, but Saints coach Sean Payton they wouldn't rush Brees back into the lineup. Payton said Brees would have to "be asymptomatic, feeling good, strong and like he can function and be an asset and play well."
"Each week I feel better," Brees said to Cox Sports Television this week. "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."
While Brees was out of the lineup, the Saints won three of their last four games with the first loss occurring this past Sunday when they fell to the Philadelphia Eagles. The loss put them behind the Green Bay Packers for first place in the NFC with just three games remaining. Taysom Hill started all four games at quarterback, but with Brees back, Hill will play multiple roles on offense.
"And as you get here, as a new quarterback, we're all trying to play catchup to Drew (Brees) and Coach (Payton), they have been together for so long so there is a steep learning curve there," Hill told reporters this week. "And so I'd say overall, just having a better feel of what we're trying to accomplish on each individual play and our rhythm, tempo and everything that goes along with that."
This is the second consecutive year that Brees has missed multiple games due to an injury. In the early stages of the 2019 season, Brees injured his thumb and missed five games. Teddy Bridgewater took over at quarterback and the team won all five contests. Before the 2019 season, Brees missed only one game in his entire career due to injury.