New England

Belichick Offers Little Clarity on Brady Injury

New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick spoke Friday morning amid concerns for star quarterback Tom Brady's hand injury, which has prevented him from practicing ahead of Sunday's game.

Belichick did not reveal much during his press conference at Gillette Stadium.

When asked for an update on Brady's condition, he said, "We gave out the injury report yesterday. We'll update it today."

Asked if Brady's absence from practice has limited the team's preparation, Belichick replied, "We're going to continue to get ready for Jacksonville all the way through, up till game time."

A reporter then asked if Brady might be a game-time decision.

"Today's Friday," Belichick deadpanned.

He also ducked questions about whether he regretted trading backup quarterback Jimmy Garappolo to the San Francisco 49ers or if he wished he had a third quarterback.

"We're getting ready for Jacksonville," he said.

Brady and wide receiver Danny Amendola are scheduled to speak Friday afternoon around 1:40 p.m.

Brady appeared at practice Thursday, but did not participate due to his right hand injury. The star quarterback reportedly jammed his throwing hand at practice Wednesday when a player accidentally ran into him, according to the Boston Herald. X-rays showed no structural damage and barring anything unexpected, Brady is expected to play in Sunday's AFC title game against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Brady was spotted at practice on Thursday wearing gloves, but the team's official injury report released later in the day said he did not participate. He was originally scheduled to speak to the media at 3:30 p.m., but the team announced around 2:30 p.m. that he would address the media on Friday instead.

It was the second straight day that the team had canceled Brady's scheduled session with the media.

Patriots fans said they're worried about the injury, but aren't panicking yet.

"I think they will win even with his injury," said Bruce Storer of Foxboro. "I think our offense is just too big for their defense."

"It's a huge concern," added Steve Haynes of Norfolk. "I mean without him, who are our quarterbacks now?"

Most fans agree, though: Brady will still play on Sunday, and the Patriots will still win.

"He has three or four days to heal up here," said Bob Carey of Foxboro. "So I wouldn't be concerned at this point unless we find something more drastic."

"I just think it's a precautionary thing and gamesmanship on the part of the Patriots," Bobby O'Shea said. "They're not gonna give Jacksonville any advantage they can get."

"They're gonna win, that's the only thing I know," Tony Ringuil said. "I guarantee they'll win. They'll probably win by 14 points...he's the champion. Patriots are meant to win."

Even Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker weighed in, issuing a "personal guarantee" that Brady will play on Sunday.

The third-seeded Jaguars will face the top-seeded Patriots on Sunday at 3 p.m. at Gillette Stadium after defeating the favored Pittsburgh Steelers 45-42 last weekend. The Patriots punched their ticket to the title game with a 35-14 drubbing of the Tennessee Titans.

The Jaguars are playing in the conference title game for just the third time in franchise history, and first since losing to Tennessee during the 1999 season. Jacksonville is also one of four franchises to never play in the Super Bowl.

The Patriots have made it to the AFC championship game for seven straight seasons. New England has advanced to the Super Bowl in three of the past six years.

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