Brees, who dislocated his throwing shoulder when trying to recover his fumble, will undergo surgery, possibly as early as this week.
Brees said he was told he could return to football drills in four months, although the extent of the damage won't be known until he is operated on.
"In my mind I feel like I'm going to come back better than ever after this deal, and I don't even want to call it a setback," Brees said. "I think it's an opportunity for me to just get going a little bit earlier than expected rehabbing and working out and to make sure when I come back I'm better than I was when I went in."
But going into the offseason, Brees' situation changes the dynamics surrounding his position. Do the Chargers offer Brees a long-term deal not knowing how he will rebound from a significant surgery? Or do they franchise him at nearly $10 million for one year?
And what about Philip Rivers, Brees' backup who has played sparingly in his two seasons? Some speculated Rivers might be traded to help the Chargers shore up their shortcomings on the offensive line and in the secondary.
But would it be wise to move the 2004 draft's fourth overall pick with such uncertainty around the quarterback position?
Good questions, none of which were addressed by general manager A.J. Smith. He's declined to speak with the media since Brees' injury.
It's clear, though, that the Chargers' offseason plans took a hit when Brees absorbed a punishing blow from Gerard Warren near the end of what was a disappointing season for the Chargers.
Said Brees, regarding himself and Rivers, "We both feel like we are starters and going to be great players in this league, and obviously both of us can't be on the same team for too long. So we'll see what happens."