How long is Drew Brees out? Injury timeline, return date, latest updates on Saints quarterback

While the Saints go marchin’, they’ll have to do it without Drew Brees.

Fans of the Saints and Brees received some pretty brutal news after Week 10, per ESPN’s Ed Werder: Brees has fractured ribs on both sides of his chest and a collapsed lung to go along with it, sidelining the passer for the foreseeable future.

While neither Werder nor the Saints issued an immediate timeline for Brees’ return, the veteran QB definitely won’t take the field for this Sunday’s matchup vs. the Falcons in New Orleans.

The news couldn’t come at a worse time for New Orleans: The Saints (7-2) are currently locked in a division battle in the NFC South, leading the Buccaneers (7-3) by percentage points with seven games left to play. Without Brees, the Saints will turn to Jameis Winston, who finished out the Saints’ 27-13 win over the 49ers in Week 10.

While Sean Payton and the Saints have fared well without Brees as recently as 2019 — the Saints went 5-0 with Teddy Bridgewater as starter in 2019 — there’s no certainty that Winston can replicate that success. The Saints do have a favorable schedule the rest of the season, with games against the Eagles, Falcons and Broncos the rest of the way.

Here’s what you need to know about Brees’ injury, timeline and more:

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How long is Drew Brees out?

While the reported injury sounds dire for Brees and the Saints, it may not sideline him for too, too long.

NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported that Brees’ injury might not actually land him on IR, with the Saints refusing to commit to IR placement for Brees just yet, leaving the door open for an optimistically quick recovery schedule for Brees.

With the NFL’s tweaked IR policy dictating players miss a minimum of three weeks, it seems like the Saints might not be expecting Brees to be out of action for too long if they’re unwilling to place Brees on the list.

Per the University of Michigan health library, a fractured or cracked rib can take up to six weeks to heal. A collapsed lung can take up to two weeks to fully heal, with some feeling relief within a few days. Speculatively, it looks like Brees could miss a few weeks at minimum, but there is no current timetable for his return to the field.

Drew Brees injury timeline

Week 9 (Nov. 8): Brees incurs an injury during the 38-3 rout of the Buccaneers on “Sunday Night Football.” While Brees receives X-rays for his injury, the scans don’t show any injury.

Week 10 (Nov. 15): Brees is seen wearing a flak jacket prior to Sunday’s matchup vs. the 49ers, causing speculation that the Saints QB entered the game a bit banged up.

In the second quarter, Brees is sacked by Kentavius Street and struggles to get up. He would finish out the first half, bu he’s replaced in the second half by Jameis Winston, who helped secure the Saints 27-13 victory over San Francisco.

Nov. 16: A CT scan reveals that Brees is dealing with as many as five cracked ribs and a collapsed lung, per ESPN’s Ed Werder. Saints coach Sean Payton would not commit to placing Brees on IR at the moment.

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