Brees progressing, but more rib fractures found


New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees told ESPN on Saturday night that doctors have been encouraged by his progress, specifically improvement in lung function and the continued dissipation of the pneumothorax suffered in the first half of last week’s victory over the San Francisco 49ers. They’ve also discovered additional rib fractures, he said.

Brees went on injured reserve Friday afternoon, meaning he must miss at least three games while recovering from cracked ribs and a punctured lung.

With the lung injuries the first concern, Brees said he had X-rays and CAT scans and has been seen by doctors every other day this week. They have confirmed a total of eight rib fractures on his left side and three on the right, he said. That’s more than double the total from testing performed Monday, which revealed five fractured ribs.

Brees believes all of the fractures on his left side occurred against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers two weeks ago and those on the right side occurred against the 49ers last Sunday.

The additional injuries have become visible on medical scans as swelling in the chest subsided and the damage more easily observed, he said.

Brees described his body as shutting down because of the injuries during the 49ers game. He said it was a lack of functionality at halftime that prompted him to inform coach Sean Payton that he would no longer be able to play. Brees said he was not able to throw the ball even 10 yards at the time.

Brees said he is hopeful that he will be physically ready to play as soon as he’s eligible in Week 14 and do so without further risk of re-injury.

This is the first time Brees, 41, has been placed on IR, and this will be just the seventh game he has missed due to injury in his 20-year career. Taysom Hill is expected to make the first start of his NFL career Sunday against the Falcons.

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