Saints QB Brees played on 'low-grade' MCL sprain, Payton says

Turns out Jay Cutler wasn't the only NFL quarterback who dealt with a medial collateral ligament problem during the playoffs.

New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton confirmed Monday that his quarterback, Drew Brees, suffered a "low-grade" medial collateral ligament sprain earlier this season, and he played through it in the wild-card playoff loss to the Seattle Seahawks, *The Times-Picayune* reported.

Cutler has been the target of criticism for leaving the Bears' NFC Championship Game loss to the Green Bay Packers on Sunday with a sprained MCL. Payton declined to make any comparison between the two quarterbacks Monday, saying there are multiple levels of severity to ligament injuries.

In other Saints injury news, Payton confirmed to the Times-Picayune that running back Pierre Thomas had "extensive" arthoscopic surgery on his ankle. The rehabilitation process that follows should last well into the offseason. Payton also provided a positive update on running back Chris Ivory, who had a screw inserted into his injured ankle. Payton called Ivory's surgery "encouraging."

Wide receiver Marques Colston is expected to have arthoscopic surgery on both his knee and wrist. Payton said Colston might miss some organized team activities during the rehab process.

Offensive tackle Jon Stinchcomb is expected to have minor surgery on an unspecified injury. Linebacker Jonathan Vilma and defensive end Anthony Hargrove might follow with similar procedures.

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