WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W. Va. Donning his red quarterback jersey, Drew Brees, as expected, took the field before the Black and Gold scrimmage at The Greenbrier on Saturday. Only on this day, there were a few things missing namely his pads and helmet.
The Saints franchise quarterback, head coach Sean Payton said, was held out of the annual scrimmage after injuring his left oblique during Friday's morning session.
'We didn't want to put him out there the day after,' Payton said. 'That's going to require just a little bit of rest. We'll see how it is coming back on Monday and kind of treat it day-to-day.'
Saints tackle Zach Strief called it 'weird' not to have Brees out there with the team, but said it was also 'a perfect time for him to have something that's just kind of achy. Take some days off, take some time.'
Nevertheless, Strief said it was difficult for Brees to 'not be with his guys and not be running and not doing those things he's used to doing,' while watching his backups Ryan Griffin, Luke McCown and Logan Kilgore split the reps in his stead.
'It was good getting those guys in there,' Strief said. 'It was awesome playing with Ryan, it was awesome playing with Luke.
'I think we kind of enjoyed having that fresh voice in there and I know those guys were jacked up about it too,' he joked.
Strief wasn't shy about going beyond the call of duty to help his injured quarterback.
'We do a lot of hugging and make sure he's doing ok. I've rubbed his obliques a few times, so I'm sure that's helped,' Strief joked 'But we want him to be healthy, and we know that the great thing with Drew is that he will be in the training room twice as much as anybody and he's going to get himself right. He'll be good to go.'
The Saints, meanwhile, are still dealing with several other injuries, most notably to cornerback Champ Bailey, who was conspicuously absent for the second consecutive day.
Payton remains mum about the nature of Bailey's injury and timetable for his return.
'We'll see. I don't think it's anything serious, and it's just a matter of making sure he's healthy,' Payton said. 'But I don't want to put a time on it.'
The team continues to be cautious with safety Jairus Byrd as he works his way back to game shape after offseason back surgery. The three-time Pro Bowler who signed a six-year, $54-million free-agent deal participated in warmups and individual drills before also being held out of the scrimmage.
Tight end Je'Ron Hamm was helped off the field by trainers after colliding with a teammate during a kickoff.
Defensive tackle John Jenkins (PUP-pectoral), wide receiver Kenny Stills (quad), offensive lineman Ben Grubbs (undisclosed), Steve Hull (undisclosed), defensive back Terrence Frederick (undisclosed) and Ty Nsekhe (undisclosed) did not participate in any on-field team activities Saturday.