NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reports that Brees will undergo surgery to repair a torn ligament on his throwing thumb, per sources informed of the situation.
The initial timeframe for recovery is approximately six weeks, per Rapoport.
NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reported 6-8 weeks is the minimum because of the ligament damage in Brees' thumb, depending on the type of surgery he ends up having. It raises the possibility of placing him on injured reserve, which would sideline him at least eight weeks, per Pelissero.
The news is a massive blow for theSaints, whose offense revolves around the star quarterback.
The 40-year-old signal-caller suffered the injury on theSaints' second drive Sunday. As he released a pass to tight endJared Cook, Brees hit the hand ofRamsdefensive tackleAaron Donaldand then had his digits pressed against his own helmet. Brees would exit the game and was seen on the sideline unable to grip a ball. He did not return and will now be out at least a month and a half.
Sitting tied atop the NFC South at 1-1, theSaints' next six games are at theSeattle Seahawks, home versus theDallas Cowboyson Sunday Night Football, versus theTampa Bay Buccaneers, at theJacksonville Jaguars, at theChicago Bearsand home versus theArizona Cardinalsbefore a Week 9 bye.
The NFL's all-time leading passer has been extremely durable during his 14 years with theSaints, missing just one game due to injury in that span, back in 2015 with a rotator cuff strain. With one of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history on the shelf, Sean Payton is expected to roll withTeddy Bridgewateras the starter. In his first meaningful action with theSaints, Bridgewater completed 17 of 30 passes for 165 yards and was sacked twice while relieving Brees on Sunday. He led just three field-goal drives in the 27-9 loss to theLos Angeles Rams.
The entireSaintsoffense looked off-kilter following Brees' exit as theRamsdefense dominated the line of scrimmage. For much of the contest, Bridgewater seemed hesitant to pull the trigger, holding the ball far too long, and often needing to see the opening before throwing instead of playing with anticipation. Perhaps getting regular practice reps will allow the 26-year-old quarterback to perform more relaxed moving forward. TheSaintsneed better play from the QB if they are to remain in the hunt while Brees is out.
Payton could also opt to giveTaysom Hill-- whom the coach has compared to Steve Young -- a bigger workload or perhaps take over if Bridgewater struggles.
With Brees out for a significant stretch, the balance of power in the NFC South is now up for grabs.