New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees returned to practice Wednesday after he fractured 11 ribs that earned him a stint on injured reserve.
The Saints activated Brees off IR on Wednesday, opening a 21-day window for the team to return him to the active roster.
Brees has missed the past four games while recovering from the ribs and lung injuries suffered Nov. 15 against the San Francisco 49ers. The Saints (10-3) have gone 3-1 behind Taysom Hill.
Though practice reportedly went well and Brees wants to return for Sunday’s mega-matchup against the Kansas City Chiefs (12-1), Saints coach Sean Payton told reporters he will not rush Brees back to action.
“We haven’t ruled anything just because we don’t have to,” Payton said Wednesday. “He’s got a ways to go still, and he’s someone we’re not gonna just hurry back and just put him in the game. I think the significance of the injuries are such that you’ve gotta make sure he can function and feel confident.”
That includes throwing without limitations and with a complete range of motion.
Hill has thrown for 834 yards in the four games in place of Brees and has eight touchdowns (four passing, four rushing). But he’s fumbled six times — losing three — and taken 13 sacks in those four games.
Hill’s lone loss last week to the Philadelphia Eagles gave the Green Bay Packers the No. 1 seed in the NFC, based on a win over the Saints in Week 3.