Brees 'concerned' about injury, to see specialist

LOS ANGELES -- Drew Brees said he doesn't know the severity of a thumb injury that knocked him out of Sunday's loss to the Rams in the first quarter, but he did acknowledge he was worried about it.

"Yeah, I am concerned. I'm hoping it's not too significant," said Brees, who plans to see renowned hand specialist Dr. Steve Shin in Los Angeles.

When asked if there was anything he could rule out or anything the X-rays he had Sunday showed definitively, Brees said: "It's all up in the air right now."

"I really don't know at this point. There's only so much you can do here other than have a doctor look at it on the sideline," said Brees, who was replaced by Teddy Bridgewater late in the first quarter Sunday after his right (throwing) hand hit Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald's hand at the end of an incomplete pass.

Bridgewater finished the game for Brees, going 17-of-30 for 165 yards in a 27-9 loss to the Rams. It was only the third time in the Payton era that the Saints failed to score a touchdown.

Brees had his right thumb and lower hand/wrist area taped by a trainer on the bench and remained on the sideline for the rest of the game in uniform.

But Payton said there was no consideration that he might go back into the game unless "we were running handoffs every play" since Brees was feeling too much pain to grip the ball.

"It's very difficult not to be playing," said Brees, 40, who has missed only one start because of injury since high school -- when he was ruled out of a Week 3 game at the Carolina Panthers in 2015 with a shoulder injury. He also suffered a major shoulder injury in the final game of the 2005 season with the Chargers, but he returned in time for Week 1 with the Saints the following year.

Brees completed three of his first five passes before leaving on Sunday. He threw an interception that was knocked out of tight end Jared Cook's hands on the opening drive.

The Saints have one of the league's best insurance policies in Bridgewater, who is the NFL's highest-paid backup quarterback at $7.25 million this season. They traded a third-round draft pick to acquire Bridgewater from the New York Jets following the 2018 preseason and re-signed him to a one-year deal in March.

Saints coach Sean Payton showed his support for Bridgewater after the game, calling him a "pro" who was ready to go after Brees was hurt, while blaming a lot of Bridgewater's struggles on the Saints' offensive line getting "whipped" up front and a slew of drive-killing penalties.

"I felt comfortable with Teddy and do feel comfortable with Teddy," Payton said.