NFL NOTEBOOK: Patriots' Brady avoids serious injury
Tom Brady walked off the field under his own power. Several teammates didn’t think he was hurt badly when he grabbed his left knee after being knocked down.
Yet the possibility that the New England Patriots might lose their star quarterback caused a scare at the team’s joint practice with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Wednesday.
A person with knowledge of the injury said an MRI was negative and Brady was day-to-day with a left knee sprain. Asked if Brady might play Friday night in an exhibition game against Tampa Bay, the person said he didn’t know.
The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the Patriots didn’t make an announcement.
The two-time league MVP had a season-ending injury to the same knee in the 2008 opener.
Brady was injured midway through practice Wednesday when left tackle Nate Solder was pushed into him by Tampa Bay defensive end Adrian Clayborn. Brady, entering his 14th NFL season, fell, rocked backward on the ground and held his left knee.
He went to the sideline then returned for a few more plays before talking with coach Bill Belichick and leaving the field toward the team’s indoor practice facility next to it.
“You’ve always got to stay away from the quarterback (in practice),” Clayborn said. “You got a guy on his heels and my instinct is to keep going, so that’s what I did.”
The contact came just as Brady threw a long incompletion down the right sideline toward rookie Aaron Dobson.
“We’re always working to protect,” Solder said. “I’ll have to see what happened on the film. I screwed some things up here and there.”
In 2008, Brady tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee. The Patriots missed the playoffs that season. He has played every game since then and the team reached the playoffs in all four seasons.
BILLS: Kevin Kolb will start at quarterback for Buffalo in its preseason game Friday night against the Minnesota Vikings. Bills coach Doug Marrone made the announcement after practice Wednesday. Kolb is competing with rookie EJ Manuel for the starting quarterback job and did not play in Buffalo’s first preseason game because of a left knee injury.
BRONCOS: Pro Bowl linebacker Von Miller, already facing a suspension for violating the NFL’s drug-abuse policy, is now confronted by charges that he failed to show up in court on misdemeanor traffic violations. Miller was arrested in the Denver suburb of Centennial on Sunday and then released, Arapahoe County sheriff’s detention chief Louie Perea said Wednesday.
JETS: Rex Ryan said Geno Smith had his “worst” day of training camp, calling the rookie quarterback’s performance “brutal.” Smith, competing with Mark Sanchez for the starting job, was intercepted four times Wednesday, including three in 11-on-11 team drills.
Smith said his sprained right ankle feels “progressively better,” but Ryan said the rookie has been affected a bit this week because of the injury.
RAMS: Starting linebacker Jo-Lonn Dunbar was suspended for four games for violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs. Dunbar, who was second on the team with a career-high 157 tackles last season, is able to participate in all team activities before the suspension, which begins with the season-opening game against Arizona.
REDSKINS: Robert Griffin III took his first 11-on-11 snaps at training camp. The quarterback ran 16 plays with the first-string offense against a scout-team defense. He completed 7 of 10 passes with an interception.
Griffin had been limited to 7-on-7 drills during camp as he works his way back from reconstructive knee surgery. Coach Mike Shanahan’s cautious approach has tested Griffin’s patience, and Griffin has lobbied unsuccessfully to accelerate the process and play in the preseason.
VIKINGS: Pro Bowl fullback Jerome Felton will miss Friday’s exhibition game against Buffalo, and perhaps the rest of the preseason, after having an emergency appendectomy. The Vikings announced the surgery Wednesday night.