Tom Brady

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Tomase: Tom Brady's hand is going to make for one anxious weekend, Patriots fans

John Tomase
January 17, 2018 - 9:39 pm
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Let's just accept that we won't know the truth about Tom Brady until Sunday's opening drive.

The Patriots quarterback missed Wednesday's press conference to meet with the medical staff. He later appeared on the injury report with a hand issue, which is new.

The Herald's Karen Guregian reported that Brady jammed his throwing hand during a practice collision with a wayward teammate. The Globe's Jim McBride later tweeted that Brady suffered a cut while making a handoff.

X-rays were negative -- and why a cut would require them is unclear -- but the Herald reports enough soreness and swelling exists that Brady could miss Thursday's practice, just days before the AFC title game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, which he is still expected to start.

There are two ways to look at this. One is that the typically tight-lipped Patriots weren't required to divulge Brady's medical evaluation. He has already postponed a number of press conferences this season and they could've vaguely chalked this one up to "treatment." When his hand then appeared on the injury report, we'd all be left to wonder, but what else is new? If it were truly serious, we'd know nothing until Brian Hoyer led the charge onto the field.

The second possibility is slightly more ominous: he's really hurt and it's too early to say how much he'll be impacted in his 12th AFC title game.

The fact that we know anything at all has me leaning towards option one, but to dismiss this as merely so much nothing-to-see here doesn't feel right, either.

What we do know is that Brady has favored that hand after a number of sacks this season, particularly in the second half, when his numbers lagged. The bye week did him a world of good before last Saturday's demolition of the woebegone Titans, but the Jaguars are an entirely different beast, and Brady operating at less than 100 percent has to be a concern.

This is what happens when a 40-year-old plays 16 games. The bumps and bruises accumulate. Brady has already landed on the injury report with Achilles and shoulder maladies, and even though he led the league in pass attempts and yards en route to what should be his third MVP, he also threw nearly as many interceptions (5) as touchdowns (6) over his final five games.

He righted the ship against the Titans by throwing for 337 yards and three touchdowns, but the real test comes this weekend against the league's most fearsome pass rush and pass defense. It would be understandable if this injury leaves Brady feeling less than 100 percent, particularly since he has played four more games than at this point last year, when a season-opening suspension might've actually paid dividends en route to Super Bowl No. 5.

That Brady needed X-rays at all should raise some red flags. It suggests he did more than simply jam his wrist. Red Sox fans need no reminder of players over the years who breathed sighs of relief after receiving similar good news, only to have their prognoses suffer in the ensuing days. (X-rays were negative on Jacoby Ellsbury's ribs in 2010, and then he missed 144 games. More recently, Dustin Pedroia missed 10 games to a sprained wrist last May after negative X-rays following a collision in Chicago).

At this point, we simply don't know. The alarmists will tell the Pollyannas that Brady's luck can't last forever. The Pollyannas will tell the alarmists to quit worrying, because Brady always delivers.

I won't know whom to believe until Brady drops back on Sunday, avoids the rush, and let's one rip.

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