Drew Brees' expected multi-week absence is now official.
The Saints announced Friday they have placed Brees (ribs) on injured reserve. Brees had previously appeared on the team's injury report during the week, and will miss a minimum of three weeks now that he's moved to IR.
Though the Saints didn't include it in their announcement, it's likely the placement on IR will be retroactive to the start of the week, meaning Brees' first week missed will be complete with the conclusion of New Orleans' Sunday game against Atlanta.
The timeline for Brees' return -- which was initially the aforementioned optimistic 2-3 weeks -- is now locked in at at least three games.
Brees missed five games last season with a thumb injury, but New Orleans had Teddy Bridgewater available to replace him. Bridgewater is now in Carolina, though, leaving Payton to choose between Taysom Hill and Jameis Winston.
NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported the Saints will start Hill against the Falcons Sunday, a somewhat surprising decision when many expected Winston to get the start. Rapoport reported Hill received all of the first-team reps during practice this week in order to prepare him for the opportunity, which comes out of necessity because of Brees' injury.
We'll have to wait until Sunday to see if the plan centered on Hill will work, and the Saints are hoping it does, since Brees won't be available.