New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady injured his right hand during practice Wednesday, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network. An unnamed teammate accidentally collided with Brady, though x-rays didn't show any structural damage to the hand.
The Patriots survived a major scare, but the situation is worth monitoring. Brady is 40 years of age and dealing with a shoulder and achilles injury, so an injury to his throwing hand would make matters much worse.
With the exception of a torn ACL injury that forced him to miss virtually all of the 2008 season, Brady has been fairly healthy and hasn't missed any other time due to injury. The Patriots have to hope he's healthy, as backup quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo was traded to the San Francisco 49ers at the trade deadline. If Brady isn't healthy, then veteran backup Brian Hoyer may have to take over.
New England is set to face the Jacksonville Jaguars in the AFC Championship Game. The Jaguars powered the NFL's second-ranked defence to an AFC South Division crown. They defeated the Buffalo Bills and Pittsburgh Steelers to reach their first conference title game since 1999.
The Patriots have won five Super Bowls under Brady and head coach Bill Belichick. But two weeks ago, ESPN reported a story that there is "rift" between Brady, Belichick and owner Robert Kraft. Rumors suggest that the tension may cause one of the three (most likely Belichick in any case), to leave after the season.
The report also said that Belichick wanted to make Garoppolo the permanent starter, but Brady went to Kraft and had him force the Jimmy G trade. All three men have denied the report and the existence of tension.
If the Patriots win on Sunday, it'll be their eighth Super Bowl appearance in the Brady-Belichick era. Of course, the hungry Jaguars defence will provide no easy task - especially if TB12 is hurting. We'll see how it all plays out on Sunday.