METAIRIE, La. — Sean Payton declined to name the New Orleans Saints‘ starting quarterback after Friday’s practice, saying he will “probably wait until Sunday.” But Drew Brees and running back Alvin Kamara both appear to have a good chance of returning from injuries against the Arizona Cardinals after they practiced again on a limited basis Friday.
Both of them were officially listed as questionable on the injury report.
“Both [Brees and quarterback Teddy Bridgewater] got a lot of work this week,” said Payton, who was asked if he saw good things from Brees regarding his comfort level throwing the football. “Yeah, he looked good. [His participation in full-team drills] was limited. But we’ll have a good plan.”
Brees did not appear to have any limitations on what he was able to do during practice this week. But the media is only allowed to watch an early portion of practice each day before the Saints begin their full-team drills. When asked earlier this week if he will play, Brees said, “That’s the plan.”
And Payton said he was medically cleared to play. But Brees acknowledged that he had to see how he felt after returning to practice for the first time since undergoing thumb surgery on his throwing hand five weeks ago. Brees said the decision will come down to “just making sure I can be me.” And when asked if it strictly will be his decision, Brees said, “I’ll tell Sean if I’m ready, and he’ll believe me.”
When Brees was asked if there is any greater risk of re-injury now than there would be after the Week 9 bye, he seemed to suggest that is not a factor in the decision.
“I mean listen, it’s not fully healed I think until three months. But that internal brace obviously provides some stability and support, as does the splint,” Brees said of both an internal brace that was installed when he had surgery to repair the torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right thumb on Sept. 18 and an external splint that he is likely to wear when he returns.
The Saints (6-1) have continued to thrive in Brees’ absence, with Bridgewater going 5-0 in his place. But Payton made it clear that when Brees is healthy, “he’ll be in starting and playing.”
Kamara, meanwhile, missed last week’s game because of both ankle and knee injuries. But he returned to practice on a limited basis Thursday and did the same again on Friday.