Tom Brady’s availability for Patriots in AFC Championship Game remains unclear
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Another day, another non-update on Tom Brady’s status from the New England Patriots.
Brady, who appeared on the injury report Wednesday when he was listed as a limited participant with a right hand injury, missed Thursday’s practice after he was present for the stretching portion at the beginning of the session. Similar to Thursday, Brady was present for Friday’s opening portion of practice, going through stretching and warm-ups – again wearing a pair of bright red gloves.
Whether or not Brady was restricted will be revealed when New England sends out the injury report, and his participation in Friday’s practice should be the most important indicator about his status for Sunday.
So as the Patriots wind down their preparation for the AFC Championship Game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Brady’s availability is a major question looming over the franchise.
“Yeah, we gave out the injury report yesterday,” Patriots coach Bill Belichick said Friday morning. “We’ll update it later today.”
As a result of Brady’s missing practice, the team announced Thursday – marking the second day in a row – that Brady would be pushing back a scheduled news conference.
Simply because Brady missed Thursday’s practice, however, doesn’t mean he won’t play against the Jaguars. Brady has appeared on the injury report since Week 12 with an Achilles and left shoulder issues, both of which have forced him to miss practices. Brady, though, hasn’t missed a game due to injury since 2008.
“We’re going to continue to get ready for Jacksonville all the way through,” Belichick said when asked if not having Brady in Thursday’s practice was a hindrance to the team’s preparation.
On Thursday, backup quarterback Brian Hoyer said he would be “ready to go” if Brady misses any of Sunday’s game before declining to offer any specifics on Brady’s status.
“Brian does a great job for us,” Belichick said of Hoyer. “Works hard, practices hard. He does a great job for us.”
The Boston Herald reported that a player ran into Brady during Wednesday’s practice, jamming the quarterback’s hand. NFL Network then reported that it was a running back who crashed into Brady during a handoff.
Brady, a two-time Most Valuable Player, threw for 4,577 yards and 32 touchdowns in the regular season and is expected to be a finalist for the award this season.
One last time during a typically tight-lipped Belichick press conference, he was asked about whether Brady would be a game-time decision.
His response: “Today is Friday.”
Indeed. Brady is expected to address reporters later in the afternoon, following New England’s final practice of the week.