Tom Brady's Thumb Injury Prior to 2017 AFC Title Game was Worse Than We Thought

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By WEEI 93.7

Everyone knows Tom Brady played the 2017 AFC title game vs. the Jaguars with 20 stitches on his throwing thumb following a freak injury in practice on a handoff with Rex Burkhead.

What we really didn't know was just how severe the injury was, including all that went into getting him ready to play in the game.

This was heavily detailed in "The Dynasty" by Jeff Benedict, which comes out Tuesday. An excerpt was released by the New York Daily News over the weekend.

Immediately after the injury happened on Wednesday, Dr. Matthew Leibman’s, the hand and wrist surgeon for the Patriots, Red Sox, and Bruins, was called and headed right down to Gillette Stadium.

“Holy (expletive)!” Leibman said to himself after seeing a picture of the injury on his phone.

The vast majority of cases where a hyperextended thumb results in a big laceration, there is a fracture or dislocation as well as damage to underlying ligaments and tendons. This is what worried Leibman at first.

Once he arrived at Gillette Stadium he entered a room with Brady, Bill Belichick, Alex Guerrero, trainer Jim Whalen and team doctor Dr. Mark Price.

It was dead silent.

“The good news is I just looked at the X-rays and they’re clean,” Leibman said. “There’s no fracture and there appears to be no dislocation.”

He then touched the thumb to examine it, which caused Brady a ton of pain.

“It looks like the ligaments and the bone and the tendons are structurally intact,” Liebman told Brady. He then said,. “I’m very surprised. Normally with a laceration like this, the bones get pulled in a way that they either break or you tear a ligament.” 

“Guys, you don’t understand,” Leibman added. “This is a hyperextension loading injury causing a skin burst. The fact that there’s no fracture or dislocation is amazing.”

Brady needed to be in a split to have any chance of playing in the game that Sunday, and at a few points Brady thought his career was over.

“Right now, the concern is that the thumb is going to get very swollen and painful,” Leibman said to Brady. “So you can’t do any of your massage. You can’t do any of your mobilization. We want to immobilize. Whatever you do, don’t remove the splint.”

The rest details everything else leading up to the game, including Guerrero and Brady going against Leibman's suggestions and even a last-minute move right before kickoff that Leibman hesitated in doing.

Click here to read the full excerpt in the New York Daily News.