With the AFC Championship Game against Jacksonville just days away, the Patriots seem to be catching a worrying case of the injury bug.
Quarterback Tom Brady was absent from his weekly press conference Wednesday, instead spending the afternoon with the team medical staff after injuring his right hand in practice. Brady was placed on the injury report and was listed as a limited participant in practice.
While the news sent fans into a panic, sources in the locker room later in the day claimed Brady’s teammates and coaches seemed unfazed by the injury.
Reports later detailed the injury, stating that Brady had been accidentally run into by a teammate. He had an x-ray and the tests showed no structural damage.
Other Patriots limping to the weekend
After missing practice, receiver Malcolm Mitchell, who was expected to make his season debut this weekend, will be staying on the injured reserve. Now that the three-week short-term IR designation window has closed for Mitchell, this puts the nail in the coffin for his season.
Starting tackle LaAdrian Waddle, who suffered a minor knee sprain in last Saturday’s victory over Tennessee, was also a limited participant in practice. While he hasn’t been ruled out for the AFC Championship, Waddle will be re-evaluated later this week to decide his status for the game.
Dynamic running back and goal-line specialist Rex Burkhead is still hampered by a knee injury as well. The 27-year-old has been out since leaving the Pittsburgh game in Week 15, but he is expected to play on Sunday.
Alan Branch and Mike Gillislee also appeared on the injury report, and depth cornerback Jonathan Joseph was sent to the IR. Johnson Bademosi, who was a healthy scratch against the Titans, could take his spot on the roster.
Luckily for Bill Belichick and Patriots fans, James White and Chris Hogan are now off the injury report, meaning Brady should have all of his favorite weapons at 100% this weekend.
Jalen Ramsey talks, Brady responds
Following their 45-42 victory in Pittsburgh Sunday afternoon, Jaguars star cornerback Jalen Ramsey took the field to make a pretty bold statement.
“Make sure you all bring that same energy out next week and the week after,” Ramsey said. “We are going to the Super Bowl, and we are going to win that b—-.”
Many fans and media members were quick to jump on Ramsey, especially since several Steelers players had made a similar claim a week earlier, just before they fell to the Jaguars in the Divisional Round.
When asked about Ramsey’s comments in an interview with WEEI, Brady fought fire with water and responded by playing down the importance of pre-game trash talk.
“I think what I have learned for a long time is it’s how you play, it’s not what you say,” Brady said. “We do what works for us, other players do what works for them. The game is going to be decided by who plays the best, not who hypes the best or speaks the best.”