The mystery surrounding Tom Brady’s hand injury is now the dominant storyline leading up to the Patriots AFC Championship matchup with Jacksonville. The uncertainty surrounding the severity of the injury, and if it will limit Brady’s performance has dropped New England from a 9.5 to 7.5 point favorite, and has Patriot fans suffering anxiety attacks en masse. Most of the dread for fans – and bettors – is being caused because the specific nature of the injury is unknown, and the Patriots aren’t telling.
Dr. David Chow is an orthopedic surgeon, and served as the the head physician of the San Diego Chargers for 17 years. He just authored a piece in the San Diego Union-Tribune, in which he used some deductive reasoning from available photographs to speculate on potential medical diagnoses of Brady’s injury.
— Matt West (@westipix) January 18, 2018
However, it looks like there could be something over the lower knuckle of the thumb here. pic.twitter.com/M9lG3Gu4EI
— Jeff Howe (@jeffphowe) January 18, 2018
Dr. Chao noted that it was disclosed that Brady suffered a cut on his hand, and underwent x-rays. He said the only cut on the hand that would also require an x-ray would be a “extreme displacement of bone that tears skin.” He added that the presence of what appears to be a splint in the photos would support the claim that Brady suffered a dislocation. He also laid out various possible injury scenarios, and described how each would affect Brady against Jacksonville, from best-case to worst.
Per Dr. Chao:
“Webspace tear. The webbing/skin between the thumb and index finger is torn. This is unlikely, as it would not require X-ray. He would have no issue playing and being effective.
Open dislocation of tip at IP (interphalangeal) joint. The dislocation would be reduced (restored to the correct alignment), the wound cleaned and sutures applied. It would be very stable. He would be wearing the temporary protection today. His grip would not be affected. He would need tape but not need a splint. There would be good stability. There would be no need for splint for the game and would expect minimum impact on Brady.
Dislocation of MCP (metacarpalphalangeal) joint. This typically includes a ligament tear/sprain and would have the most severe effect on his grip of a football. If it is the ulnar collateral ligament that is torn, it is a big deal as Brady’s grip would be weaker, affecting his throws. It would be difficult to grip and throw. Former Patriots backup Jacoby Brissett had this last year. He played poorly and did not throw much while dealing with the injury in a game filling in during Brady’s suspension after Jimmy Garopplolo was injured. Brissett was placed on IR and had surgery. If NFL dislocation, could have serious affect on Brady’s ability to throw the ball well.”
Even though it’s only speculation, it’s more medical insight than the Patriots are giving out, so take it as you will. Everyone in New England is hoping it’s not the worst case scenario presented here, which could end in Brian Hoyer taking meaningful snaps in in an attempt to reach another Super Bowl. That is terrifying.