Update: The New Orleans Saints have designated Drew Brees for return from injured reserve, per NewOrleans.Football’s Nick Underhill on Wednesday afternoon, December 16.
Following their Week 14 matchup in Miami, the Kansas City Chiefs will turn their attention to a possible Super Bowl preview against the New Orleans Saints next weekend. On Sunday morning, ESPN’s Adam Schefter broke some news that could change the way the AFC West leaders prepare for the highly anticipated matchup.
According to the NFL insider, the NFC’s top-seeded Saints are in “no rush” to bring back QB Drew Brees ahead of next week’s interconference battle.
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‘Still No Timetable’ For Brees’ Return
New Orleans’ 41-year-old signal-caller has missed the team’s last four games recovering from significant abdominal injuries, including nearly a dozen broken ribs, suffered in Week 10 versus the San Francisco 49ers.
After being placed on injured reserve back on November 20, Brees was eligible to return as early as Sunday’s road tilt in Philadelphia after progressing in his recovery in recent weeks. As Schefter explained on Sunday, Brees’ status is now very much up in the air for the Chiefs game and potentially beyond.
The New Orleans Saints are in no rush to bring back Drew Brees, and there’s still no timetable for when the quarterback might play again as he recovers from his 11 fractured ribs and punctured lung, league sources told ESPN.
Brees was hoping to return in Week 15 against the Kansas City Chiefs, but the Saints want to see their veteran quarterback make a full recovery, be able to throw without any limitations and have complete range of motion before they consider reinserting him into the starting lineup, according to sources.
Taysom Hill, who has started four consecutive contests in Brees’ absence, remains the favorite to stay under center against Kansas City. Since taking over for the future Hall of Famer, Hill has helped lead the 10-2 Saints to wins over the Atlanta Falcons (twice) and Denver Broncos.
In those three starts, Hill has posted 543 passing yards, 2 touchdowns and 1 interception while adding 176 rushing yards and 4 more scores on 34 carries, including at least 10 totes in every game.
Since entering the league in 2017, Hill has yet to face off with the Chiefs, while Brees has posted a 4-6 record in 10 games against Kansas City during his historic 20-year career.
Saints Cut Fan Capacity by 80% for Chiefs Showdown
Earlier in the week, New Orleans made another tough decision that should also play to the benefit of the Chiefs in Week 15. In an official statement on December 10, the team announced in conjunction with New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell that the maximum capacity allowed at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in Week 15 will be reduced from 15,000 to 3,000.
On October 20, the team, along with the Mayor’s office, her health and safety team and health experts from Ochsner Health stated that barring any change in local health and safety guidelines any additional changes to crowd size would only be possible if current trends continued to remain stable. Should those conditions be met, capacity would be incrementally increased up to 15,000 for regular season games.
Based on current data, those predetermined thresholds that have triggered the team and city to roll back the capacity — (a) positivity rate above 5% and (b) cases over 25 per 100,000 (about 100 per day) — have both now been surpassed in Orleans Parish.
The decision comes on the heels of rising COVID-19 cases in the region that houses the Saints’ stadium and should drastically reduce the crowd noise while Patrick Mahomes and company operate on offense.
Chris Licata is an NFL contributor covering the Kansas City Chiefs from enemy territory in Denver, CO. Follow him on Twitter @Chris__Licata or join our Heavy on Chiefs Facebook community for the latest out of Chiefs Kingdom!