NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana — Now that we know what Drew Brees' injuries are, we wanted to find out more about how they are treated and how fast can they heal.
When a somber Drew Brees took questions after the game, fans could just sense his injury was difficult. And it was. He has multiple rib fractures on both sides and a collapsed right lung, after taking a sack by a 280 pound defender. Doctors believe three of the five rib fractures were from the week before against Tampa.
“There are a lot of nerve endings around the ribs, so they are very sensitive. It hurts to take a breath. It hurts to move. It becomes very difficult to do any activity,” explained Dr. Buddy Savoie, Tulane Orthopedic Surgeon.
Dr. Savoie has not treated the quarterback but he says in general, there's no quick treatment.
“Ribs are going to heal at their own pace and we can not really change that very much. Fractures tend to heal very quickly in the ribs. They're very vascular.”
Tulane pulmonologist Dr. Josh Denson says collapsed lungs can heal on their own in a week or so, or may need some intervention with a needle or tube. It is not likely to cause long term problems.
Brees' shoulder had some issues earlier in the week that made him questionable to play. Dr. Savoie is an internationally recognized shoulder surgeon and hopes that hit didn't also cause a set back to a shoulder that was on the mend.
“If you just look at it from a throwing angle and velocity, it looked really good. That was a very difficult blow to his shoulder that already probably has some wear and tear on the rotator cuff, tendons, and muscles was already contused and fatigued from earlier in the year,” said Dr. Savoie.
VIDEO: Brees, Payton react post game to QB's injury
In football, the age of 41 makes you one of the oldest on the gridiron. In real life, being 41 and a pro athlete, means you heal much faster. Dr. Savoie says three weeks minimum and eight weeks maximum to heal, depending on Brees' pain tolerance. But we know it's very high.
When asked if he was surprised that Brees went back on the field after he was injured? He replied, “No. That guy's a player. I mean he's tough.”
And the doctor says there are nutritional supplements that can help speed recovery after injuries or surgery.
Juven, any amino acids, Hydroxymethylbutyrate HMB is most commonly used for building muscle or preventing muscle loss, Vitamin D supplementation is usually very helpful in speeding up tendon healing. Vitamin C helps with collagen cross linking so collagen peptides can make a big difference. Dr. Savoie says fitness expert Mackie Shilstone has worked with him on this information.