In his most revealing comments since injuring his knee last Sept. 7 in the New England Patriots' season opener, Tom Brady made it clear Wednesday that he's on track for the 2009 season.
"You wouldn't know I had surgery if you watched us," said Brady when asked if he's able to throw with full torque and pressure on the left knee that had its ACL and MCL ripped and surgically repaired.
Brady, who has thrown his weight behind a worldwide effort to provide computers for kids called "One Laptop per Child," spoke at the West End House Boys and Girls Club in the Boston neighborhood of Allston.
After presenting the program and the product, Brady went upstairs to the gym and threw several footballs the length of the court trying to put them through the hoop. He threw those at about 50 percent effort but, when asked if he's able to do everything, he said without hesitation, "Yup."
After surgery in early October, Brady developed an infection in his MCL that caused a buildup of scar tissue and led to some looseness in the repaired ligaments. The infection took six weeks to clear using an irrigating process, and that six-week period, coupled with the damage the infection caused, set Brady's progress back.
In late December, NBCSports.com reported that the slowness of Brady's rehab, the looseness in the ligaments and possible further surgery to remove the scar tissue buildup would muddy the waters on how the team would proceed with Brady's backup, Matt Cassel. Cassel had a terrific 2008 in relief of Brady. He's since been designated the team's franchise player. The Patriots figured to either trade Cassel or keep him around as insurance if Brady's knee was not full-go for training camp or the early part of 2009. But given Brady's insistence that he is doing well, the likelihood that Cassel is kept around as insurance could diminish.
Brady said he felt he'd be ready for mini-camps and training camp.
"(Head coach Bill Belichick) never likes us to forecast anything," Brady said. "It's like me asking you guys where you're going to be doing your job in eight months. I certainly think so. There's no reason why I shouldn't. I wish it was right around the corner."
When asked about limitations, Brady said, "I'm doing everything. I'm playing quarterback, that's what I'm doing. Everything. Golfing."
Pushing the envelope a bit, Brady was asked if he felt he'd be ready to go if training camp opened this week.
"I'd be ready," he said. "I don't know what my trainer would say, but I was out there working out yesterday. It's hard to say. I've never been through anything like this. ... I'm feeling really good. Everything's progressing just as I expected. There's a lot of hard work that needs to take place."
There were murmurs recently of a second setback but Brady shot those down.
"I think initially I said there was (a setback), but since then there's been nothing."
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The nation grieved for those hurt, killed and affected by the Boston Marathon bombings. After one of the suspects was caught on Friday — following a day-long lockdown and manhunt — sports returned to Boston over the weekend.
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