After undergoing medical evaluations on Monday, New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees has been diagnosed with several fractured ribs as well as a collapsed lung, sources told ESPN.
Brees was held out of the second half of New Orleans’ 27-13 win over the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday due to the injuries, most of which he sustained on a big hit in the first half courtesy of Niners defensive end Kentavius Street. While Brees’ return timetable remains murky, his injuries are not minor and he will definitely be out at least two to three weeks, if not more.
Doctors have told Brees to take extra precautions with his damaged lung, and they also informed him that he’s got three fractured ribs on the left and two on the right, and possibly more, according to ESPN’s sources. While the injuries to his right side and lung likely came from the Street hit, doctors believe the ribs on his left side were injured the previous week against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
That would explain why Brees was struggling against the Niners even before the Street hit, with just 76 yards and a touchdown on 8-for-13 throwing in the first half despite the fact that number one wideout Michael Thomas was finally playing at 100 percent. Jameis Winston came in and finished off the win but he was a bit shaky as he took two sacks and had an interception dropped by a DB down the stretch.
Though some may clamor for swiss-army knife Taysom Hill to step in as signal caller, Winston is without a doubt the clear answer at quarterback while their future NFL Hall of Famer is out. Winston went 6-for-10 for 63 yards in relief on Sunday, leading two scoring drives on the way to a Saints win.
Head coach Sean Payton has remained coy while refusing to make any definitive statements about Brees’ injury and who will start in place of him on Monday, though those involved are preparing for Brees to be out for a lot more than three weeks, sources told ESPN.
Brees’ extended absence also opens the door for Tom Brady and the Bucs to leap-frog the Saints and take the NFC South crown, and right now on betting site 888sport, Tampa’s still got beautiful +200 odds to win the division while sitting just a half-game back of New Orleans. That’s about as much value you can get on a future wager this late in the season, so don’t waste any time and grab it before the line inevitably moves.