Drew Brees is optimistic he will be on the field on Sunday when the New Orleans Saints take on the Arizona Cardinals.

The quarterback, who has missed the last five games because of a thumb injury, told reporters on Wednesday that he “plans” to play in Week 8 – though a definitive decision has not been made yet.

Brees went on to explain that he needs to make sure he continues to feel comfortable and like himself this week. He threw during Wednesday’s practice and said he feels good so far.

The veteran said taking snaps “was easier than expected” and he can now grip the ball comfortably.

“The hardest part was just getting it to where I could grip the ball again and grip it with authority, grip it with strength and be able to guide the mall, manoeuvre the ball,” Brees said.

The quarterback injured his thumb in a Week 2 loss to the Los Angeles Rams. He had surgery on September 18 after consulting with two doctors and speaking to other professional athletes who had a similar injury, including Los Angeles Angels outfielder Mike Trout and Oklahoma City Thunder guard Chris Paul.

Brees, 40, had completed 72.9 percent of his passes for 408 yards and two touchdowns before he was injured.