Drew Brees is reportedly close to ready to return after rehabbing his injured thumb, but the New Orleans Saints may ride their hot hand a little longer.
As NOLA reported, Brees said he was expecting to be on the field for his team's game against the Arizona Cardinals this week. Brees has been recovering from the thumb surgery that he underwent last month, and has been able to return to practice on a limited basis. While Brees appeared more confident about his ability to play, Saints head coach Sean Payton was more reserved, saying that Brees would still be a game-time decision for the team's Week 8 matchup.
As the International Business Times noted, the Saints may be leaning toward sticking with Teddy Bridgewater, who has led the team to five consecutive wins while posting a 67.7 completion percentage, racking up 1,370 yards and nine touchdowns in five games.
The report noted that the Saints may be a bit cautious in getting Brees back into action, especially considering how well the team has done under Bridgewater. When Brees does return, he will be wearing a brace to protect his right thumb.
"You just try not to think about it," Brees said of throwing with the brace. "Obviously having something on your thumb that's taped onto your thumb at first, it's not the most comfortable thing or a normal feeling thing, but I just have to make it the norm."
There are others suggesting that the Saints give Brees more time to heal. NOLA columnist Rod Walker wrote that the Saints should show extra caution this week against a tough Cardinals defense that has been one of the league's best at getting to the quarterback. Brees has also yet to take part in full practices and test his thumb at full speed, Walker noted."If his thumb is at 100%, he should play. Absolutely," Walker wrote. "If it's anything less than that, even as close as 99.9%, he shouldn't."
Even if Brees were to sit out this week and return in the next game, it would still be earlier than some of the initial estimates for the type of injury he suffered. When Brees originally went down, there was some fear that he could be out for the season, or at least not return until much later in the year.
The New Orleans Saints have not given an indication when a final decision could be made, and Drew Brees remains a game-time decision.