Drew Brees will reportedly make his return from a thumb injury and start when the New Orleans Saints host the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday.

ESPN reported the Saints quarterback will be back after missing the last five games.

New Orleans coach Sean Payton had not named a starting QB for his team’s Week 8 matchup while speaking with media on Friday.

That came after Brees had worked his way back from the injury – a torn ligament in the thumb of his passing hand – slightly sooner than expected.

The 6-1 team had the option to continue starting Teddy Bridgewater, who went 5-0 in Brees’ absence, but will go with the veteran instead.

Brees was listed as a limited participant on Friday’s injury report, but he said earlier this week he plans to play, explaining that 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 ball, manoeuvre the ball,” Brees said.

Brees, a five-time All-Pro selection, injured his thumb in a Week 2 loss to the Los Angeles Rams after making contact with Aaron Donald.

He had surgery on September 18 after consulting with two doctors and speaking to other top athletes who had experienced similar injuries, including Los Angeles Angels outfielder Mike Trout and Oklahoma City Thunder guard Chris Paul.

The 40-year-old had completed 72.9 percent of his passes for 408 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions before he was injured, with his return coming against a Cardinals team who hold a 3-3-1 record.