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Brees needs surgery on torn labrum

SAN DIEGO (Jan. 2, 2006) -- Chargers quarterback Drew Brees has a torn labrum in his right shoulder and plans to have surgery as quickly as possible.

Brees dislocated the shoulder in the team's home loss to the Denver Broncos. The team suspected then that he had a torn labrum, which was confirmed during an MRI Jan. 1.

The fifth-year pro plans to get a second opinion from noted orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews in Birmingham, Ala.

"Obviously I'd like to get this thing operated on as soon as possible," Brees said. "We're all very optimistic. The doctors are very optimistic, saying that this is something that they've seen before, done before, It shouldn't be a big deal."

Brees anticipates a four-month rehab.

Brees was hurt late in the second quarter. He dropped back to pass in his end zone and was blindsided by safety John Lynch, who knocked the ball loose. Brees dived for the ball and defensive tackle Gerard Warren landed on him.

"In order for it to be dislocated, some other things are going to have to give way. The labrum was the thing that kind of gave way," Brees said.

"I feel like I'm going to come back better than ever. In my mind, I don't think anything's changed. I'm serious."

Brees' injury could complicate the Chargers' decision on their quarterback surplus. Brees played this year under an $8 million, one-year contract as the team's "franchise" player, while backup Philip Rivers has four years left on his contract.

Rivers replaced Brees and led the Chargers on their only scoring drive.

Brees led the Chargers to the AFC West title in 2004, but regressed some this season. The Chargers (9-7) missed the playoffs for the ninth time in 10 seasons.

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