Lewis: Drew Brees' injury just final confirmation that Saints' greatest era in team history is over _lowres

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON--New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton talks to New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) next to New Orleans Saints quarterback Luke McCown (7) against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the Superdome in New Orleans, La. Sunday, Sept. 20, 2015.

Saints_Cardinals_FootballDrew Breesis back.

Brees, who went through the first injury-related absence of his Saints career last week in Carolina, is healthy enough to start against the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday night, according to Saints head coach Sean Payton.

“Each day’s been good, the throws, deep balls and everything,” Payton said.

Signs that the bruised rotator cuff in his throwing shoulder has improved enough for Brees to play have been cropping up all week.

Brees met with Dr. James Andrews in Birmingham on Monday and got a favorable report, then started throwing again in practice on Wednesday.

The key was making sure he could handle all the throws he’d need to make in the game.

“There’s something different about when you go through the mechanics of getting in the huddle, calling the play, getting up to the ball, going though your pre-snap reads, and then actually having to react to an open receiver vs. just standing there and being kind of mechanical and calculated about throwing the ball,” Brees said Wednesday. “When you’re in the pocket, you have to react quickly, there’s times when you have to maybe throw off balance. We call them ‘funny body throws.’ Put different stresses on shoulder, have to experience that.”

Backup quarterback Luke McCown turned in a solid start in place of Brees, completing 31-of-38 passes for 310 yards and an interception against Carolina.

Now, Brees will take back over for a Saints team still desperate for a win after an 0-3 start.