In the second half of Sunday’s Super Bowl, Giants defensive end Justin Tuck drove Patriots quarterback Tom Brady into the turf at Lucas Oil Stadium. Brady’s left shoulder banged against the artificial surface, raising concerns that he’d re-injured a left shoulder that had caused him to miss a practice before the AFC title game.
Ian Rapoport of the Boston Herald reports that Brady indeed aggravated a “sprain” that he had suffered earlier in the year. Though Rapoport says that the key word is “sprain,” the reality is that a “sprain” of the AC joint can range from nothing to something serious.
Still, Rapoport writes that it wasn’t a serious sprain, and that it “is not believed to be the kind of injury that will need to be dealt with much in the offseason.”
That said, Brady completed only seven of 17 passes after taking the hit, in the same game that he completed 16 straight. His accuracy seemed to be affected, as evidenced by a badly underthrown pass to tight end Rob Gronkowski that was intercepted by linebacker Chase Blackburn, the “drop” for which Wes Welker had to leap, lunge, and lay out, and a ball thrown behind Deion Branch as he was crossing the field.
One of the problems with concealing and/or downplaying injuries is that players get blamed when an undisclosed injury causes a drop in performance. And since Brady didn’t act like Rodney Dangerfield in Caddyshack after taking the hit, few have attributed the lack of accuracy to the injury.
Our guess (and it’s just a guess) is that the original injury was worse than believed, and that the aggravation is worse than advertised. That said, we doubt that the Pats will include the following designation on every injury report for the next eight years: probable, left shoulder.