EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

October 24, 2008

It's time to panic: Brady's health status is scary

On Pro Football

Hector Longo

For the first time in professional sports history, an athlete underwent a surgery that wasn't a complete success.

The fact that it was Tom Brady should have New England football fans in a state of panic.

News swirled here and nationally that Brady's surgically reconstructed left knee (torn ACL and MCL) is not progressing due to an infection.

According to reports, the franchise quarterback has endured four different procedures to date, three to try and flush the knee of a dangerous infection.

This begs the question why did Brady leave Boston for the surgery?

Brady had the surgery in Los Angeles, at the prestigious Kerlan-Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic.

ESPN reported the club was angry with Brady for not going to a Boston hospital under the care of the Patriots' medical staff.

The Pats bristled at the report and released the following statement:

"Today, ESPN cited an unnamed source who supposedly expressed the feelings of the Patriots 'organization.' This unsubstantiated report does not represent the team's views whatsoever. We have supported Tom Brady one hundred percent from day one of this process and will continue to do so. We issued a statement last Saturday expressing our complete organizational support for Tom. That support includes all aspects of the process. Unfortunately, our statement was not mentioned or referenced in ESPN's report. Today, we reiterate our total support for Tom as he recovers from his injury."

Clearly, the Pats have enough to worry about as they struggle to make the playoffs with Matt Cassel under center.

Where does this whirlwind of bad news leave the franchise?

Only the future will tell. The infection may ultimately force another reconstruction effort on the knee.

Until then, Brady will take a stiff regimen of antibiotics to knock down the infection and hopefully kick-start the healing process. Perhaps New Englanders were in denial when it came to the Brady injury suffered in the season opener. We expect he'll be back and just as good as he was come next fall.

There are no guarantees, though. At best, his recovery has been delayed a few months. At worst, it could be much worse.