WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.Va. -- Drew Brees took yet another small step toward returning to action Wednesday when he participated in some individual passing drills with the quarterbacks and receivers for the first time. But it still seems extremely unlikely that the New Orleans Saints quarterback will play in Friday’s preseason game against the Tennessee Titans.
Saints coach Sean Payton declined to say whether Brees will play. But Payton has consistently said the team will be smart and cautious with Brees, who strained his oblique on Aug. 1.
Either way, Brees definitely appears as though he’ll be healthy in plenty of time for the start of the regular season. He has increased his workload on a daily basis, including a return to the lineup during the team’s afternoon walk-through on Tuesday, followed by his appearance in individual drills on Wednesday.
Plus, Brees showed some impressive agility while sliding across a makeshift slip-and-slide during his ALS ice-bucket challenge Tuesday.
In other Saints injury news:
Guard Ben Grubbs returned to live team drills for the first time Wednesday -- and he dove right in during a spirited set of live goal-line drills. Grubbs said it was a lower back issue that caused him to miss more than a week of training camp practices, but he feels good now and is blessed to have enough time to fully recover before the regular season.
Rookie linebacker Ronald Powell left the field with the trainers after hobbling off the field during a play. The details of his apparent injury are unknown. UPDATE: Powell reportedly returned to the field Wednesday afternoon and participated in walkthrough.
There was still no sign of fullback Erik Lorig or linebacker Victor Butler at practice. Both players have been sidelined for nearly two weeks, though the Saints have not offered any details on the severity of their injuries.
Guard Jahri Evans and cornerback Patrick Robinson made brief appearances on the sideline Wednesday but did not participate in practice. Also not practicing Wednesday: receiver Kenny Stills, linebacker David Hawthorne, tight end Je’Ron Hamm, offensive tackle Ty Nsekhe, cornerback Rod Sweeting and safety Ty Zimmerman.
UPDATE: Cornerback Champ Bailey participated in individual drills and the morning walk-through during Wednesday's practice but was reportedly absent from the afternoon walk-through.