Saints QB Brees wears brace on sore knee, says it's no concern

METAIRIE, La. -- New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees wore a brace on his left knee during practice Wednesday and said he was still a little sore from a hit he took during the fourth quarter of an overtime loss to the Atlanta Falcons.

"It's gotten a lot better since Monday," Brees said. "My hope is and ... I'm very confident that by game day it will be fine."

Brees wasn't listed on the Saints' injury report. Coach Sean Payton said there was no injury to report, just soreness that wasn't serious enough to limit the star quarterback in practice in any way.

"There's no specific injury other than he has soreness," Payton said. "He took all the (practice snaps). There's not an injury to report. I was pleased with how he functioned. He functioned fine. It's something that as the week goes on, I think he'll have no problem with, and he did a real good job in all the team stuff today."

Brees said he wasn't sure whether or not he'd wear the brace during Sunday's home game against the winless Carolina Panthers.

"I'm kind of playing with it for stability and comfort," Brees said. "More than likely, yes. We'll see."

Brees' knee started bothering him last Sunday after he took a hit from Falcons defensive end John Abraham, who tackled the quarterback during a fourth-down pass to Jeremy Shockey to extend a game-tying drive.

Brees continued to play in overtime and didn't show any sign of distress as he drove the Saints to the Falcons' 11-yard line for what looked to be a game-winning field goal until Garrett Hartley hooked his try wide left.

The Falcons wound up winning 27-24.

Saints safety Roman Harper (right hamstring) and running back Pierre Thomas (left ankle) also were hurt during that game, and neither practiced Wednesday. Thomas injured his ankle during the fourth quarter, but he also returned to the game in overtime and had a 23-yard gain on a screen pass.

"Fortunately the soreness for him is not as significant as you might expect with some ankles," Payton said. "It's not a high ankle sprain. It's not any of that, but there is swelling enough to where we held him out today."

Harper was in and out of Sunday's game, often having his leg stretched on the sideline.

Payton didn't expand on Harper's injury, and neither Harper nor Thomas were in the locker room when it was open to reporters Wednesday.

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press

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