Drew Brees eyeing return this week: 'That's the plan'

Drew Brees believes he's ready to roll this week.

Asked if he is playing this week against the Arizona Cardinals, the New Orleans Saints quarterback replied, "That's the plan," per NFL Network's Steve Wyche.

There is no set plan yet, but the 40-year-old quarterback says he feels ready to return after undergoing thumb surgery in September.

Brees noted he needs to get through practices feeling himself this week, so his Wednesday optimism could wane if his surgically repaired thumb doesn't respond as he hopes.

So far so good for Brees, who was limited in the Saints' first practice of the week Wednesday. He said he felt good throwing and noted that taking a snap was easier than he anticipated.

Coach Sean Payton told Cardinals reporters in a conference call that he could wait until Sunday to make his decision on whether Brees can go.

Elsewhere at Saints practice, two of Brees' top weapons, running back Alvin Kamara (ankle/knee) and tight end Jared Cook (ankle), did not participate.

The Saints, who sit at 6-1 having won five straight games with Teddy Bridgewater under center, have a bye after Sunday's tilt, but Payton noted that wouldn't be a factor in the decision to start Brees. If the future Hall of Famer is ready to go, he'll play.

The initial timeframe after Brees injured his thumb in Week 2 and underwent surgery was a four-to-six-week recovery. Sunday represents the five-week mark.

Bridgewater has performed admirably sans Brees, and the defense has been a smothering menace, allowing the Saints to remain undefeated without their star QB. If he's ready to roll Sunday, the Saints won't hesitate to put their leader back under center.

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