Drew Brees Injury: Updates on Saints Star’s Shoulder and Return

New Orleans Saints fans’ worst nightmare came to pass, as superstar quarterback Drew Brees has a shoulder injury that could keep him out for extended time.

Werder confirmed, via a source Tuesday, that Dr. James Andrews said “Brees does not have a tear in rotator cuff or throwing shoulder,” adding that “rehab is crucial” and his status is to be determined.

“It’s a matter of pain threshold and rebuilding strength in the shoulder,” said a source, per Lyons Yellin of WWL-TV.

On Sept. 21, ESPN’s Ed Werder (via colleague Adam Schefter) said an MRI confirmed Brees does not have a serious injury, though his “ability to play depends on response to treatment.” Werder added that Brees “experienced pain, weakness” in his passing shoulder.

Continue for updates.

Payton Denies Report Brees May Miss ‘Several Games’; Latest on QB’s Recovery

Tuesday, Sept. 22

Werder reported Tuesday that he’s been “told [Brees] believes there’s ‘reasonable possibility’ he overcomes rotator cuff injury to play. Dr. [James] Andrews told him to rehab hard.” He added, “Brees believes ‘reasonable possibility’ he plays this week. See how injury responds to rehab, treatment.”

Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reported Monday that Brees could miss multiple weeks, which Saints head coach Sean Payton statedwas “inaccurate,” per the Saints. The team will have a better idea of his status Wednesday.

Will Injury Affect Brees’ Future with Saints?

Tuesday, Sept. 22

Brees has been one of the NFL’s most durable players over the past 12-plus seasons, having missed just two games during that time frame—both in Week 17, in preparation for the playoffs—but his incredible run may be in jeopardy.

Not only that, but his future in New Orleans is in jeopardy, with Jason Cole of Bleacher Report saying the Saints are “unlikely” to extend Brees past 2016 after the injury:

The 36-year-old entered the 2015 season having played in all 16 games for five straight years. He has also been one of the league’s most productive passers during that time, but injuries are unavoidable the longer someone plays.

Brees entered the 2015 campaign with a bit of a chip on his shoulder after missing the playoffs and falling just short of the 5,000-yard passing threshold last season for the first time since 2010, according to ESPN.com’s Mike Triplett.

“Maybe there’s a slight bit of motivation,” Brees told Triplett in July. “My mentality doesn’t change from year to year. I always feel like there’s something to prove. I approach every day, practice, rep, game as if I have something to prove. Never that I’ve arrived.”

New Orleans is in transition to some degree since it traded tight end Jimmy Graham to the Seattle Seahawks and dealt wide receiver Kenny Stills to the Miami Dolphins during the offseason. But Brees, as always, is the one true constant on that side of the ball.

However, Brees is the one who makes New Orleans’ explosive offense go. There is no doubt that Saints fans are holding their collective breath as they await a definitive diagnosis for their hero.

Brees Comments on Injury

Monday, Sept. 21

Brees seemed to injure his shoulder on a hit during the loss. Following the game, the quarterback admitted that the hit had bothered him, adding that he’s had issues as recently as last season, via Katherine Terrell of the Times-Picayune.

The star quarterback also said it impacted his ability to make plays during the contest.

“Maybe on a few throws,” Brees said, via Terrell. “I want to say a few balls downfield didn’t come out very well.”

The former Purdue standout has a quick release and has enjoyed great play from his offensive line over the years, although that latter benefit has appeared more infrequently of late.

Potential Options for Saints if Brees Misses Time

Monday, Sept. 21

It is unclear how much time Brees might miss, but being absent for even one game would be a major blow to New Orleans. In fact, it could be argued that no single player is more valuable to his team than Brees is to the Saints. He has been named to the Pro Bowl in eight of his nine seasons with the Saints and led the team to its first and only Lombardi Trophy in Super Bowl XLIV.

Luke McCown is the current backup to Brees, and the Saints selected quarterback Garrett Grayson out of Colorado State in the third round of the 2015 NFL draft, and Payton expressed the importance of having a prospect like Grayson waiting in the wings in an interview during training camp on the Rich Eisen Show (h/t Jeremy Warnemuende of 247Sports):

I think the first thing to stress is the significance of having a young quarterback develop under a guy like Drew Brees and really be able to take advantage of just his weekly work ethic, his routine. We felt like it fit at that pick. But you’re constantly trying to bring in young, talented players into your roster. … There’s so much learned [from] just being in the same room, being on the same schedule, the work week.

McCown would be the likely choice if Brees cannot play in Week 3, but whoever does assume the spot under center will have weapons like Mark Ingram and Brandin Cooks at his disposal.

There’s never a good time for a player of Brees’ caliber to get injured, but the Saints may be better prepared for it than ever before.