The last thing the Patriots need in their search for offensive consistency is an injury to Tom Brady. And while the quarterback isn’t in danger of missing games anytime soon, his nagging arm injury is unlikely to help New England’s situation.
The Patriots have lost two games in a row, and aside from some garbage time production in a Week 13 loss to Houston, the passing offense has looked almost nonexistent save for a few trick plays here and there. Coincidentally, the offensive issues appear to have coincided with Brady’s elbow injury that popped up on the injury report ahead of a Week 12 game against the Dallas Cowboys.
After Sunday’s loss to the Chiefs — New England’s first setback at home since 2017 — Brady did his postgame press conference with a giant wrap on his right elbow. Brady brushed aside questions about the elbow and assured reporters he’ll be fine for next Sunday’s game in Cincinnati. While that may be the case, NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport on Monday reported Brady’s elbow problems could linger.
“Tom Brady’s elbow is going to be a thing, and really it has been for the last couple of weeks when he popped up on the injury report,” Rapoport said Monday morning on NFL Network. “From what I understand, his practice time has been pretty limited as he nurses that elbow injury and just tries to keep himself fresh.
“He’s not that young anymore — I know he looks young — but he’s not young and they’ve really pulled back on how much he practices. That maintenance he’s getting on his elbow is something that’s going to continue. It remains to be seen if they can keep it in good enough shape to be the Tom Brady we’re so used to seeing.”
Dr. Jessica Flynn, who specializes in orthopedic sports medicine at Lahey Hospital and is known for using her expertise to attempt to diagnose sports injuries from afar on Twitter, weighed in with her take Monday morning, too. She shared a video of Brady taking a hit to the elbow Sunday vs. the Chiefs, speculating the hit “can lead to excessive swelling at the olecranon bursa, a ‘pocket’ at the tip of the elbow.”
Brady himself acknowledged in his postgame press conference he was hit on the elbow during the game.
“That wrap you saw during the press conference was likely meant to compress, prevent further swelling,” Flynn added. “In a vacuum, not a huge deal. Will require treatment but manageable. In the setting of nagging elbow issues, something that could add to the discomfort.”
In his weekly radio appearance on WEEI, Brady again assured all he’d be ready to go next week.
"It's alright, just took a helmet on the inside of it. Just going to try and get some extra treatment and be 100% for next week." Tom Brady to @GregHillWEEI on his elbow.
— The Greg Hill Show (@TheGregHillShow) December 9, 2019
It would be borderline shocking if Brady somehow wasn’t able to play Sunday. But the real issue, it seems, is Brady’s practice has been limited in recent weeks. The offense already had its problems getting on the same page, and removing Brady from the equation in already limited practice time is far from ideal.
In fact, one report Sunday pointed to Brady’s arm issue — and how it has affected his practice time — as a potential reason for the obvious disconnect between the veteran quarterback and his young receivers.