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Drew Brees has 11 rib fractures but has seen improvement in lung function

Chris Simms and Mike Florio break down an intriguing divisional duel as the Drew Brees-less Saints host the Falcons.

Drew Brees had X-rays, CAT scans and saw doctors every other day this week. They confirmed eight rib fractures on his left side and three on the right, the Saints quarterback told Ed Werder of ESPN on Saturday night.

(Humans have 12 ribs on the right side and 12 on the left, in case you were wondering.)

Testing performed Monday revealed five rib fractures, though it was known he could have “even more.”

Brees told Werder, though, that doctors are encouraged by his progress, specifically improvement in lung function and the continued dissipation of his collapsed lung.

The Saints placed Brees on injured reserve Friday. That means he will miss at least the next three games. The 7-2 Saints play the Falcons, Broncos and the Falcons again in the next three games.

Brees told Werder he is hopeful he will be physically ready to play as soon as he’s eligible in Week 14 “and do so without further risk of re-injury.”

The Saints play the Eagles in Week 14.

New Orleans is expected to start Taysom Hill at quarterback Sunday, though Bucs coach Bruce Arians expects the Saints also to play Jameis Winston, who played for Arians last season.

The Saints went 5-0 without Brees last season as Teddy Bridgewater led them while Brees recovered from a thumb injury.