Tom Brady had “moderate” risk of further knee injury by playing with torn MCL

NFC Championship - Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Green Bay Packers
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The news that Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady played much if not most if not all of 2020 with a fully-torn MCL has raised an important question: How in the hell did he do it, and what risks did he assume by doing so? (I guess that’s two questions.)

NBC Sports/Sunday Night Football Sports Medicine Analyst Mike Ryan explained the situation to PFT in a string of text messages this morning.

Brady had, per Ryan, a “moderate” risk of further injury to the knee. The impaired ligament increased the overall laxity of the left knee.

“Ligaments stabilize joints,” Ryan said. “With a compromised ligament, the joint has more laxity. The greater the instability of the ligament, the greater the looseness of the joint.”

It’s still unclear how loose the knee was. Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times reported that Brady had a partial tear of the MCL. Ian Rapoport of NFL Media reported that it was a full tear. Per Ryan, that may be a distinction without much of a difference.

“With the thin slicing of an MRI, if a small tear in the MCL exists, it will be graded as Grade 3, or complete tear,” Ryan said.

Brady managed to play with the injury because of his custom knee brace. Ryan explained that, with an MCL injury, tape will be added under the brace to further support the knee.

The “moderate” risk of further injury helps explain (but hardly excuse) the team’s failure to disclose the existence of any knee problem for Brady. One good hit to the knee could have re-torn his ACL, which first was torn (and replaced) after a low hit in Week One of the 2008 season. Also, because Brady doesn’t do much cutting or lateral movement, the risk of the knee completely giving out was reduced.

25 responses to “Tom Brady had “moderate” risk of further knee injury by playing with torn MCL

  1. I dont think they needed to put him on the injured list. He wasnt hampered by the injury at all and played stellar. Thus it isnt really an injury to him if it didnt affect him.

  2. Let’s hope Mrs. Brady doesn’t reveal the 73 concussions Tom suffered during his years with the Patriots but were never mentioned on the injury reports.

  3. If I was an elite quarterback feeling pretty confident that I could play with this injury, I wouldn’t want opposing teams to know about it.

    Whatever the consequences once the season is over – so be it.

  4. I want to see him fully healthy this year and play to the full potential of that offense.

  5. Following the line of questioning that wonders about the sounds of falling trees in the woods or the lavatory habits of bears, is an injury that doesn’t hamper your style of play really an injury?

  6. My problem with all this is the same as always. NFL response alone says there are different rules for Brady (and whatever team he is on) than for everyone else. And when you add to that the fact that you have had Pats fans complaining that other teams (I might have the team wrong) like the Broncos were cheating in previous years for doing the same thing….sorry it just stinks to high heaven

  7. So in New England, was it really Belicheck hiding injuries or was it Tom telling Bill to hide injuries?

  8. Coupon Email says:
    July 16, 2021 at 10:00 am

    So in New England, was it really Belicheck hiding injuries or was it Tom telling Bill to hide injuries?


    Belichick goes the other way. He reports all injuries, even small ones that are unlikely to have any effect on the guy’s ability to play.

    This is just speculation, but is it possible Brady doesn’t let the team know about his physical condition if he can avoid it? We know he has his own team of Guerrero, and maybe more.

    We all know players hide injuries all the time, including concussions. It’s a desire to play, but also if the opposition knows you have an injury, they’ll key on that vulnerable body area. The whole injury-reporting system is always going to be imperfect for those and many other reasons.

  9. Now we know why BB listed Tom, and many others, on the injury report every week, to not deal with the NFL….cough….gambling requirement to list any injury.

    If I’m not mistaken Tom was listed on the injury report with ‘right shoulder injury’ for like 10 straight years. 🤣

  10. Tom is like, let’s find the most difficult thing to do in sports. Then let’s make it more difficult. Then let’s hide the fact I’ve made it more difficult. After I do the most difficult thing in sports at a greater difficulty, let’s reveal it to everyone later b/c I don’t really care about getting credit for it.

    I mean what on earth is this guy made of???

  11. I don’t buy this Tom Brady story. My gut tells me people are spreading a false story to try and grow the legend of Tom Brady.

  12. Why don’t they report Brady’s injury? Probably because multiple guys on defense would’ve been targeting his knees. Everyone knows that Gabbert isn’t leading the Bucs to the Super Bowl.

  13. I probably would’ve done the same thing. Go for broke at this stage of your career, especially when you can win it all. Clearly it was the right decision.

  14. I can see a very realistic scenario this was all legit.
    1) It was reported he had the torn MCL in 2019 with the Pats.
    2) Covid hit in Feb/March, and most hospitals stopped elective surgeries needing OR’s and beds for life threatening cases.
    3) Someone mentioed this would have shown up on a physical with the Bucs, but what if they looked at late 2019 game tape and agreed to pass his physical even with a torn MCL (like Miami could have with Brees).
    4) Bucs announce his signing and that he passed his physical.
    5) In above scenario I ask… Why would he need be on the injury report if his knee status did not change since he passed his physical?

  15. Two points: First, isn’t the purpose of the injury report to inform gamblers of the possibility that a player won’t play? If Brady had a 100% chance of playing through this as every game approached, then it isn’t more important to report than a fly bite, is it?

    Second, even if the league is to fine the Bucs and/or Patriots, it sounds like it may have been worth that price to prevent defenses from targeting his knee.

  16. Wait, Tom Brady gets special treatment? Who does he think he is, Michael Jordan? Wayne Gretzky??

  17. Good it wasn’t disclosed, Brady probably didn’t tell the Bucs either. Who wants their knees to be targeted.

  18. The LEGEND Grows. 43 years old playing on a bad knee and he still wins a SEVENTH SUPER BOWL TITLE…..No one else even compares not Montana Favre Manning Marino Elway Mahomes Rogers etc no one. Brady is by far the GOAT. The debate and conversation is dead.

    BRADY is the Greatest NFL has ever see or will see in future. And it isnt even close

  19. Whether it’s BB or Arians, some things never change.

    Status: Probable

  20. So this guy threw 40 TDs and 10 in the playoffs, and won the Super Bowl, at age 43, in the first year with his new team with a limited offseason…

    ….on a torn MCL.

    This guy is a beast.

  21. Seems that people have already forgotten that Brady himself said that you shouldn’t believe everything he says.
    For a guy that’s supposedly so into taking care of his body, why would he let a knee injury linger for 2 years?

  22. Thought I couldn’t be any more impressed with Tom Brady than I already was.

    I was terribly wrong.

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