Brady practices with team


FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady returned to practice on Thursday, a day after leaving the joint session with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with a minor left knee injury.

The Patriots wore just shells and helmets for Thursday’s walkthrough practice and Brady, who was wearing a brace on the knee, had no limitations. The teams did a lot of situational drills, 7-on-7 and 11-on-11, at half speed against the Bucs. There was no hitting.

The session was much less intense and strenuous than Wednesday’s full-pads practice, during which Brady went to the ground after left tackle Nate Solder was pushed into him after he released a pass.

"I didn't let it affect my sleep,” Solder said with a laugh after Friday’s session. “No, it's part of the game, part of the game."

Brady also plans on playing against the Bucs on Friday night at Gillette Stadium in the team’s second preseason game, sources told ESPN.com on Thursday morning.

The preliminary diagnosis after an MRI on Brady's knee Wednesday indicated there was no structural damage. Although there have been reports that the knee is sprained, Brady has described symptoms more consistent with a bruise.

"He basically got kicked," a source said. "It isn't like his knee collapsed or somebody rolled up on him. ... Could they decide he shouldn't play in the game? Probably. But they could also decide it's just soreness and he needs to work it out. It's really nothing."

Brady underwent surgery on the same knee to repair a torn ACL after the 2008 season opener when Chiefs safety Bernard Pollard hit the quarterback. Brady was wearing a sleeve over his knee when the latest injury occurred, but not the protective brace that he's worn in games since the 2008 injury.

Brady was hurt Wednesday when Bucs defensive end Adrian Clayborn overpowered Patriots left tackle Nate Solder and drove him into Brady after he released a pass. Brady went to the ground and stayed there, briefly holding his knee. He eventually threw several more passes before conferring with coach Bill Belichick, offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels and the training staff. Brady did not remove himself from practice but was convinced by the trainers and medical staff that his knee should be examined.