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Monday, August 19, 2013
Tom Brady downplays knee injury

By Field Yates and Mike Reiss
ESPNBoston.com

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady said he hadn't been wearing a knee brace in practice, but he's changed his mind after last Wednesday's scare.

Tom Brady
Tom Brady showed no ill effects of his knee injury on Friday, completing 11-of-12 passes vs. the Buccaneers and throwing for his second TD of the preseason.

One person, in particular, has had a heavy influence: owner Robert Kraft.

"Mr. Kraft felt pretty strongly about me wearing it," Brady said. "He said, 'What's the problem?' I said 'I'll wear it, I'll wear it.' "

Brady, who spoke with reporters Monday after practice, delivered that line with a smile. He didn't commit to wearing the brace in future practices, saying, "Sometimes when you wear the brace a lot, then you get used to wearing the brace. I like to keep a nice strong leg and if it wasn't strong, something bad would have happened."

Brady was referring to a minor knee injury suffered last Wednesday at the Patriots' joint practice with the Buccaneers. A defensive lineman pushed tackle Nate Solder into Brady's leg after he had released the ball. Brady, who was not wearing a brace, went down and immediately grabbed the knee area. He would leave practice shortly afterward.

Fans immediately pictured the worst, recalling Brady tearing the ACL in the same knee in Week 1 of 2008 and missing the entire season. He had a precautionary MRI on Wednesday that showed no structural damage and practiced the next day, wearing a protective knee brace that he has previously worn since suffering the ACL tear. He also played in Friday's preseason game against the Bucs at Gillette Stadium.

Brady on Monday morning said "felt bad it caused more of a media story than it actually was."

"We were just trying to be smart," he told the "Dennis & Callahan Show" on WEEI sports radio in Boston on Monday morning.

The 36-year-old Brady said that he was never frightened the injury was serious, but after consulting with coach Bill Belichick and medical personnel, they deemed it best to depart practice.

"I wouldn't say frightened, you're just wondering what happened, because I didn't obviously see anything," he said. "You just feel something and react and I went back in for really to finish the period out that we had going and then just talked to Coach Belichick and our trainer and we figured we'd try to be safe."

He added the injury drew much more attention than it deserved because it occurred during a public practice, with video of the play going viral after a fan captured it from the end zone bleachers.

"There were a lot of people at practice that were witnessing," Brady said. "If that was a Wednesday or Thursday practice during the regular season, you'd probably never hear about it.

"But it's obviously the nature of Twitter and all that social media stuff. But it happens on the practice field, it happens on the game field, you see so many injuries that have happened over the course of the preseason," he said.

Brady showed no ill effects of the injury on Friday night, completing 11 of 12 passes and throwing his second touchdown of the preseason.

He stressed the importance of playing in preseason games, despite the exposure to the risk of an injury -- to his knee or anyplace else.

"There's risk of injury in practice, there's risk of injury driving down to the stadium in the morning," he said. "It's your only game prep. I haven't taken a hit in eight months. It's just hard to say, 'Let's just see what we have against Buffalo.' You've got to put it in, you've got to see where you're at in terms of game speeds, in terms of reads. Things are different in a game."

The Patriots open their regular-season schedule at Buffalo on Sept. 8. They'll travel to Detroit on Wednesday to face the Lions in preseason action on Thursday night.