Brian Fluharty/USA Today Sports

Tom Brady's hand injury is now biggest mystery in New England

Alex Reimer
January 18, 2018 - 3:05 pm

Tom Brady’s importance to the Patriots has never looked greater than it did Thursday, when seemingly the entire New England region spent its afternoon analyzing photos of his throwing hand at practice.

On Wednesday, the Patriots took the unusual step of announcing Brady would not speak with the media, because he was with the medical staff. Shortly thereafter, the Herald’s Karen Guregian reported Brady jammed his hand at practice after colliding with a teammate. The Globe's Jim McBride followed up, saying the quarterback went for X-rays. They reportedly came back negative.

Brady was spotted at practice Thursday wearing a glove on each hand. As WEEI’s Ryan Hannable notes, Brady spoke last month about his discomfort with wearing a glove on his throwing hand, lending credence to the alarmist view regarding this mysterious injury.

"Early in my career I tried using a glove on my throwing hand a little bit. It didn’t go too well. I think it’s better without," Brady told reporters.

Several beat writers have taken it upon themselves to launch investigations into the state of Brady’s hand. The intrigue should only increase over the next 24 hours, considering Brady did not participate in practice Thursday. His press availability on Thursday was cancelled for the second straight day as well. 

The apparent injury on Brady’s throwing hand becomes an even bigger deal in the wake of the Jimmy Garoppolo trade. If Brady is hindered during the AFC championship, it will be easy to wonder whether the situation would have been handled differently if Garoppolo were still on the team. The New York Daily News has already pursued this angle, with its national NFL writer, Gary Myers, predicting the "confusing Garoppolo trade" could cost New England the Super Bowl.

"Kraft and Belichick are smart guys. 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," Myers writes. "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."

That speculation is unfair, given Brady’s exceptional durability. Even if Garoppolo were around, it’s unlikely Brady would miss the AFC championship for an injury like this. But since Brady did not throw in practice, it seems like he's actually hurt.  

The Patriots are only further fueling the palace intrigue with their decisions to cancel Brady’s press availability on two straight days. Bill Belichick may dislike firestorms, but the team's surreptitious maneuvering is adding to this one. 

This post has been updated.

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