The Saints are not scheduled to practice for the first time this week until Thursday, since they are coming off a Monday night game. They host the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday.
“I think each day we’ll gather more information and have a better idea of where he’s going be as it pertains to playing in this game or not,” said Payton, who referenced that another doctor is also going to take a look at Brees’ situation.
ESPN NFL Insider Ed Werder reported Tuesday that Charlotte-based specialist Dr. Robert Anderson will be consulted after scans of Brees’ MRI results were sent to him. Anderson is the same specialist who treated Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning for a similar injury.
Werder reported that Brees tore his plantar fascia, though it is not clear if Brees suffered a complete or partial tear. In most cases, a complete tear is actually less painful to play with.
When Payton was asked if it would just be a matter of pain tolerance with Brees, rather than a risk of further injury, he said, “I don’t know if that’s the case. I’ve not met with the trainers yet this morning. I don’t know if that pertains to his specific injury.”
Payton was also ask how he measures the risk of playing Brees vs. the fact New Orleans is 5-9 and out of the playoff race.
“My thinking is typically if a player is playing, we’ve cleared him medically and he’s not risking further injury. And if a player has a risk to further injury, we don’t play him,” Payton said. “That would be in the regular season, that would be in the postseason, that would be with two weeks left to go in the season where we’re at now.”
It’s unclear who would start Sunday if Brees can’t play. Veteran Matt Flynn has been serving as Brees’ primary backup and would seem to be the most likely choice. But the Saints could consider giving some real-game experience to rookie Garrett Grayson.
Payton said the team plans to install the full game plan by the end of Wednesday, especially since they want to give players a chance to spend some time at home with their families during the holidays at the end of the week.
When asked if Wednesday was being treated like a Tuesday during a normal practice week, Payton said, “Today is like a Tuesday with three hours’ sleep.”