When Drew Brees left the New Orleans Saints’ game against the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday after taking a big hit on a sack, it seemed as if the Saints were just being extra cautious about their franchise quarterback.
Well, it turns out they weren’t being cautious enough. A Monday MRI revealed Brees suffered multiple rib fractures and a collapsed lung, and the injuries weren’t even all from that one hit. Brees actually came into Sunday’s game already with a fractured rib, but he tried to play through it anyway. Could the Saints’ malpractice and Brees’ newest injury diagnosis spell the end of his legendary career?
Drew Brees left Sunday’s game with a rib injury
In the second quarter of the Saints’ game against the 49ers on Sunday, Drew Brees took a massive hit from San Francisco pass rusher Kentavius Street. The play resulted in a sack, as Brees felt 287 pounds of man pound him into the turf.
Brees actually returned to the game after taking the hit, but he took himself out before the Saints took the field for the second half.
“I was not going to be able to be effective,” Brees said after the game. “It had nothing to do with pain. It was simply just what my body was going to be able to do or not be able to do.”
Jameis Winston took over for Brees under center for the second half, and he led New Orleans to a 27-13 win over the 49ers.
“I thought he played great,” Brees said of Winston. “That’s a tough job, especially as elaborate as our game planning is on offense especially, to come in and be able to execute that offense is very difficult, especially to come in midstream and haven’t had a big chance to get all the reps and that kind of thing.”
Brees thought he might have a minor injury that was just affecting his throwing motion enough to keep him out of the game, but the MRI the next day revealed something worse.
Brees’ injury is worse than expected
There were many questions surrounding Brees’ injury sustained on Sunday. How severe was it? How long will he be out? What about his shoulder? It did appear as if Street pushed Brees’ shoulder into the ground during the hit.
But the MRI on Monday revealed a devastating twist to Brees’ season and maybe his career. Ed Werder of ESPN reported that Brees was diagnosed with multiple fractured ribs and a collapsed right lung. The crazier part? Brees suffered at least one of those injuries before Sunday’s game.
Brees’ timetable for return is unknown at this time, but the diagnosis isn’t encouraging news for a 41-year-old quarterback.
Could Brees’ diagnosis spell the end of his career?
After learning of his multiple rib fractures and collapsed lung, Brees could be out for most of, if not all, of the 2020 NFL season. Fractured ribs usually take over a month to fully heal, and Brees isn’t the young whippersnapper he once was.
Brees is 41 years old, and he’ll turn 42 in just two months. His career was already heading toward the final chapter, and his recent diagnosis might’ve accelerated that story.
Brees is signed with the Saints for this season and the next, but he has seriously contemplated retirement in years past. If he can’t go for the rest of the season, it will surely make him and his family wonder if this game is still worth playing for the undersized, aging QB who already holds nearly every record in the book.