Brees, Thomas among Saints held out

As expected, New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees was held out of Friday night's preseason opener at the St. Louis Rams.

Brees has been resting a strained oblique for the past week, though he has increased his workload off to the side during practice each day -- including a throwing session with safety Jairus Byrd before Friday's game, according to observers at the Edward Jones Dome.

Saints coach Sean Payton has never specified a timetable for Brees' return, other than to describe him as "day to day." But Payton said he did not believe the injury would jeopardize the start of the regular season.

Running back Pierre Thomas also did not dress for Friday's game, which was more of a surprise since he practiced all week. The reason for his absence is unknown. The Saints haven't offered many injury details during training camp since they aren't required to.

The others who weren't dressed for Friday's game, according to reports from The Times-Picayune and The Advocate, were expected after they missed practice time leading up to the game: guards Jahri Evans and Ben Grubbs, receivers Kenny Stills and Andy Tanner, fullback Erik Lorig, tight end Je'Ron Hamm, offensive tackle Ty Nsekhe, Byrd, cornerbacks Champ Bailey and Terrence Frederick, linebacker Victor Butler and defensive tackle John Jenkins.