New Orleans Saints' Drew Brees progressing, says more rib fractures found

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees told ESPN on Saturday night that doctors have been encouraged by his progress, specifically improvement in lung function and the continued dissipation of the pneumothorax suffered in the first half of last weekend's victory over the San Francisco 49ers. They have also discovered additional rib fractures, he said.

Brees went on injured reserve Friday afternoon, meaning he must miss at least three games while recovering from cracked ribs and a punctured lung.

With the lung injuries the main concern, Brees said he has undergone X-rays and CAT scans and has been seen by doctors every other day this week. They have confirmed a total of eight rib fractures on his left side and three on the right, he said. That's more than double the total from testing performed Monday, which revealed five fractured ribs.

Brees said he thinks all of the fractures on his left side occurred against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers two weeks ago and that those on the right side occurred against the 49ers last Sunday.

The additional fractures became visible on medical scans as swelling in the chest subsided and the damage was more easily observed, he said.

Brees described his body as shutting down because of the injuries during the 49ers game. He said it was a lack of functionality at halftime that prompted him to inform coach Sean Payton that he would no longer be able to play. Brees said he was not able to throw the ball even 10 yards at the time.

The quarterback said he is hopeful that he will be ready to play as soon as he is eligible in Week 14 and can do so without further risk of reinjury.

This is the first time Brees, 41, has been placed on injured reserve and will be just the seventh game he has missed because of injury in his 20-year career. Taysom Hill will make the first start of his NFL career Sunday against the Atlanta Falcons for New Orleans (7-2).