Sunday’s Saints vs. Rams game was on the NFL radar as a rematch of that controversial playoffs game earlier this year. While both teams’ star quarterbacks were on the field for the contest, unfortunately, New Orleans lost their QB to a hand injury.
Here’s a Drew Brees injury update and how long a UCL tear in the thumb takes to recover from.
What happened to Drew Brees’ hand?
The injury occurred during the first quarter of the game on Sunday afternoon in Los Angeles. As Brees was throwing a pass, the Rams’ Aaron Donald came rushing towards him to try to block the ball.
Instead, Donald’s hand knocked into Brees’ throwing hand. The sheer impact of Donald’s hand caused Brees’ fingers to sort of fold back as his hand went towards his helmet.
Video footage surfaced online from the game which showed on FOX Sunday evening.
Backup quarterback Teddy Bridgewater would come in to replace Drew Brees who headed to the sidelines. He’d remain there with his hand wrapped up, and could only watch as his team struggled against the Rams the rest of the game.
In a tweet update from FOX Sports NFL, they indicated Brees was having trouble gripping the ball, giving a good reason for him to remain sidelined.
.@ErinAndrews was told during the half that Drew Brees simply "could not grip the ball."
He is still questionable to return. pic.twitter.com/Ma88LVtLwX
— FOX Sports: NFL (@NFLonFOX) September 15, 2019
ESPN NFL Nation’s Mike Triplett provided several injury updates later on Twitter. He indicated Saints coach Sean Payton said it was a thumb injury that Brees suffered. He also said there wouldn’t be any further updates until further medical tests, and it could be about two days. Triplett also posted about Brees’ reaction to what happened.
Drew Brees said he plans to see a hand specialist in Los Angeles tonight. Until then he doesn’t know the severity of his thumb injury.. “Yeah I am concerned,” Brees said. “I’m hoping it’s not too significant.”
— Mike Triplett (@MikeTriplett) September 16, 2019
How long will a UCL tear thumb injury take to heal?
With his current situation unknown, some people have an early suspicion that it’s a UCL tear in Brees’ thumb. This diagnosis is unconfirmed, but if true, it could mean surgery, and a lengthy stay on the sidelines to recover.
The UCL refers to the ulnar collateral ligament of the thumb. A UCL tear is also sometimes referred to as skier’s thumb or gamekeeper’s thumb too.
Sometimes volleyball players experience the injury as well as skiers who fall on their outstretched hands. In Brees’ case, it was Donald’s hand colliding with his causing that potential injury.
A 2018 report from Medical News Today indicated the timeline for a thumb ligament injury is anywhere from two weeks for a minor sprain up to 12 weeks or longer for a more severe injury.
If Brees’ needs surgery, it could be about six to 12 weeks or longer that he’ll be out of action.
The photo on the right is a test for a UCL tear. I'm worried that it was positive. The fact that he was ruled out immediately without an xray and doesn't even want to try to grip a football is concerning for a full-thickness (unstable) tear. Those require surgery. https://t.co/rxvde2hmGo
— DocFlynn (@jessdeede) September 15, 2019
Brees has been an iron man of the NFL, missing just one start in his entire career. That was back in 2005 with a shoulder injury for the Saints’ Week 3 matchup with the Carolina Panthers.
Since then, the 40-year-old QB has been steady and reliable, nearly guiding his team to another Super Bowl again last postseason.
If he’s out for a considerable amount of time, it will put more of the offensive burden on running back Alvin Kamara and backup Teddy Bridgewater. It certainly makes the Saints’ season success look murky right now. Fans will be waiting for the latest word on the tests to see if this is a severe UCL tear in the thumb, or something else.