New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees suffered "multiple ribs fractures on both sides of his chest and a collapsed lung on the right side," according to ESPN's Ed Werder. CBS Sports' Jonathan Jones confirmed Brees suffered broken ribs and will be sidelined more than one week. The injuries were suffered over a two-week period and could require the veteran to miss time recovering. However, the current timetable for Brees' recovery from the injury is not certain at this time.
NFL Network's Ian Rapoport added Wednesday that additional tests following Week 10's game did not change Brees' status, and that the QB is expected to be out at least two weeks.
When the Saints came out of the locker room at half time during Sunday's game against the 49ers, it was Jameis Winston who entered the game, not Brees. The latter underwent an MRI revealing the aforementioned damage.
Despite a relatively mild start to 2020, Brees had escalated his production in recent weeks, posting top-10 numbers amid the Saints' surge to the top of the NFC South. The longtime signal-caller, who missed five games in 2019 due to a thumb injury, appeared on the team's official injury report earlier this month because of a right shoulder issue.
"He took a heavy shot in the first half," coach Sean Payton said afterward. "He felt it was really impacting him ... (and said) 'I don't feel like I'm capable of playing.' And that happens sometimes."
The Saints often rely on backup QB Taysom Hill, inserting him as a utility man alongside or in place of Brees on a weekly basis, but Winston was signed this offseason as a more traditional backup under center. The former No. 1 overall pick spent the first five seasons of his NFL career with the rival Tampa Bay Buccaneers, establishing a reputation as a boom-or-bust starter, as evidenced by a 2019 campaign that saw him lead the league in passing yards but also throw an NFL-high 30 interceptions.
Brees, meanwhile, had not missed more than a single game in a season for 15 straight years prior to 2019.
The Saints are sitting at 7-2 following Sunday's 27-13 victory. They remain in first place in the NFC South over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers by a half game. New Orleans has won both 2020 meetings against Tampa Bay.