Reimer: Tom Brady's hand injury does not connect to Jimmy Garoppolo trade

Alex Reimer
January 19, 2018 - 11:49 am

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

I would like nothing more than to rehash the Jimmy Garoppolo trade for the rest of time. Second-guessing is what the peanut gallery does best. 

But even for me, the ultimate contrarian, it’s a stretch to connect the Garoppolo deal to Tom Brady’s injured hand. In the New York Daily News Friday, national NFL columnist Gary Myers, who reported earlier this month Bill Belichick sees an “opening” to coach the Giants, did exactly that. 

“Kraft and Belichick are smart guys,” Myers writes. “They haven’t been to seven Super Bowls together and won five because they have made a habit of giving away inventory for 50 cents on the dollar. But somebody blew it here. You can already hear the moaning from the fans at Gillette Stadium on Sunday if Brady is not playing like Brady or Hoyer comes running onto the field.

“If Jimmy G was still in the house, the Patriots could still win the Super Bowl. That insurance was worth way more than the Patriots could ever get back in a trade.”

Myers’ column is based off the seemingly fantastical notion that Brady’s busted hand will prevent him from playing in the AFC championship against the Jaguars Sunday. Brady, of course, has not missed a game due to injury in his career outside of 2008, when he tore his ACL Week 1. He also does not get removed from games due to injury. The Jaguars may target Brady, but history says he is not coming out. 

It’s apparent Brady’s injury is legitimate. The quarterback did not participate in practice Thursday and wore a glove on both of his hands when he was on the field. Photographs appear to indicate Brady’s thumb is bulky, too, indicating he might have been wearing a splint or another device. Dr. David Chao, the former Chargers team doctor, speculates Brady is probably suffering from an open dislocation of the IP joint.

“The dislocation would be reduced (restored to the correct alignment), the wound cleaned and sutures applied. It would be very stable,” Chao writes. “He would be wearing the temporary protection today. His grip would not be affected. He would need tape but not need a splint. There would be good stability. There would be no need for splint for the game and would expect minimum impact on Brady.”

Under no circumstances would Brady miss any game, never mind an AFC championship, for that kind of injury. He threw for 337 yards and three touchdowns last week against the Titans, so it seems unlikely this is a nagging issue as well. 

The only other instance in which Garoppolo’s presence would play a factor Sunday is if the Patriots were tempted to pull Brady. But unless Brady uncorks a Brian Hoyer-like playoff performance –– the Patriots’ current backup threw four picks in his only career postseason start with the Texans –– he will be the quarterback throughout the contest. Belichick has never pulled Brady from a game for poor performance, unless it's garbage time. 

There will be plenty of more opportunities to criticize the Patriots for the Garoppolo trade, such as next season, when he likely leads the 49ers back to playoff glory. But on Sunday, Brady will take the field, and whoever is holding the clipboard won’t matter one bit. 

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