Drew Brees to have surgery on torn right thumb

The New Orleans Saints will be without future Hall of Fame quarterback Drew Brees for an extended period.

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 the Saints, whose offense revolves around the star quarterback.

The 40-year-old signal-caller suffered the injury on the Saints' second drive Sunday. As he released a pass to tight end Jared Cook, Brees hit the hand of Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald and 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, the Saints' next six games are at the Seattle Seahawks, home versus the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday Night Football, versus the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, at the Jacksonville Jaguars, at the Chicago Bears and home versus the Arizona Cardinals before a Week 9 bye.

The NFL's all-time leading passer has been extremely durable during his 14 years with the Saints, 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 with Teddy Bridgewater as the starter. In his first meaningful action with the Saints, 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 the Los Angeles Rams.

The entire Saints offense looked off-kilter following Brees' exit as the Rams defense 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. The Saints need better play from the QB if they are to remain in the hunt while Brees is out.

Payton could also opt to give Taysom 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.