Drew Brees Injury: When Will The Saints QB Return?

Written By Matt Burke on December 9, 2020 - Last Updated on December 14, 2020
When will Drew Brees be back return

Drew Brees hasn’t played since Nov. 15, when he fractured 11 ribs. The 41-year-old quarterback also suffered a collapsed lung that day against San Francisco. The initial thought was that the Saints would hold out Brees through the rest of the regular season and wait until the NFL playoffs to bring him back. But there is a scenario in which a Brees return could happen before then as Saints fans, sports bettors and fantasy football owners all currently wonder when will Drew Brees be back?

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When will Drew Brees be back and return from injury?

Brees is unlikely to play Sunday against the Eagles, but the following Sunday against the Chiefs is in play.

“The rule this year was if someone goes on [IR] for a three-week minimum,” Saints head coach Sean Payton told Pro Football Talk. “But each day we’ll get an update as to how he’s doing. A lot of it is ‘How does it feel?’ If you’ve ever really thrown a baseball, football or anything and you realize your ribcage and all the soft tissue and muscles surrounding it. It’s pretty painful. And that’s the thing – is it able to function without those side effects or things that might hurt your play.”

The Saints QB did an interview with FOX Sports New Orleans’ Mike Nabors in late November following the Saints’ victory over Denver. Brees offered an update and some glimmer of hope that his return from injury could be nearing.

“I feel better than I did last week,” Brees said. “I feel better every day and I’m gradually ramping things up with what I’m able to do. Just understanding that there is just a healing process that has to take place. But man, I’m pushing it. I’m trying to be back as fast as I can.”

The Saints put Brees on IR immediately following his injury. The minimum amount of weeks that NFL players miss when they are put on IR is three weeks, though it’s for certain that Brees will not play this coming Sunday against the Falcons. A return in New Orleans’ Week 14 game against the Eagles in Philadelphia is also highly unlikely.

Once we start getting into late December, though, that’s when we could see Brees return to practice and potentially play on game day. Here is the Saints’ schedule down the stretch:

  • Week 15, Dec. 20: vs. Chiefs
  • Week 16, Dec. 25: vs. Vikings
  • Week 17, Jan. 3: at Panthers

As for recovery timetables for Brees’ injuries, fractured ribs typically take at least six weeks to heal – according to the University of Michigan. A “collapsed lung” sounds ominous, but actually only takes a maximum of two weeks to heal in most cases.

It will have been six weeks since the injury on Sunday, Dec. 27 – two days after the Saints’ Christmas Day game against the Vikings.

Best prices for New Orleans Saints


The Saints obviously don’t want to rush Brees back from injury, particularly considering he is 41 years old and the most important thing is for him to be 100% in the postseason. That said, New Orleans’ path to returning to the Super Bowl would be made much easier if they could get their hands on the No. 1 overall seed in the NFC.

Starting this season, only the team that gets the top seed in each conference will earn a first-round bye. New Orleans is currently 9-2 and in the drivers’ seat. But close on their heels are the 8-3 Seahawks and 8-3 Packers. Green Bay has the easiest schedule out of those teams down the stretch.

The Saints currently have the lowest odds in the NFC to win Super Bowl LV, +500 at FanDuel Sportsbook. Only the AFC’s Chiefs have lower odds overall as Kansas City is +280 at FanDuel. Seattle is +900 and Green Bay is +1000.

The division race is all but over, with the Saints -7000 to win the NFC South. Tampa Bay is +1900. The Saints’ win total projection at FanDuel is currently 11.5 (-220 Over, +180 Under).

Drew Brees props


Brees’ days as a true NFL MVP contender seem to be behind him, though he was among the top 10 favorites heading into the 2020 season with odds around +2200 at most books back in early September. Given the time he is missing due to injury, he is no longer listed for MVP at most books.

As for Brees’ passing yard and TD totals prior to the season, it’s obviously unlikely he hits those marks. His preseason over/under was 4,049.5 passing yards and 30.5 TDs at FanDuel.

He has thrown for 2,196 yards in nine games so far in 2020, leaving him 1,854 yards short. He has thrown 18 TD passes thus far, leaving him 13 TD passes short of going over.

Matt Burke Avatar
Written by
Matt Burke

Matt Burke is the Sports Editor and Head of Evergreen/SEO Content at TheLines.com. He is the Founder and former Editor-in-Chief of MetroBet, a digital and print sports betting platform, and was the Executive Sports Editor at Metro US Newspapers (New York, Philadelphia, Boston) from 2014-2020. Matt has covered Super Bowls and Final Fours, and his work has appeared for Sports Illustrated, CBS Sports, the Eagle Tribune, Gloucester Daily Times and Newburyport Daily News. Matt is a graduate of the University of Connecticut.

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