METAIRIE, La. (AP) Saints quarterback Drew Brees says he is confident he will be able to play on Sunday against the Carolina Panthers despite a bruised rotator cuff in his throwing shoulder.

Brees says the key is balancing rest and rehab through the week so that he's as strong as possible by kickoff.

Brees says he did not throw at all at Wednesday's practice, but was on the field studying the construction and timing of each play the Saints were working on.

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Since joining the Saints in 2006, Brees has never missed a start because of an injury.

While Brees is tending to his right shoulder, he and the rest of the offense are also trying to pinpoint what they can do to be more productive than they've been during their 0-2 start.

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AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and http://twitter.com/AP-NFL