As the countdown continues to the AFC Championship Game Sunday afternoon, most eyes will be on Patriots QB Tom Brady’s right hand/thumb, and how effective he will be throwing the ball during pre game warm ups, etc.
That topic leads off the key injury updates:
Brady, who was injured when apparently teammate Rex Burkhead ran into his right hand during Wednesday’s practice, limited in practice Thursday and Friday. And, then refused to answer any questions about it Friday afternoon.
This only fueled speculation of the seriousness of the injury. On Saturday night, ESPN reporter Dianne Russini tweeted this:
In the category of non-shocking news…Patriots Tom Brady will start in the AFC championship game against the Jaguars per sources
— Dianna Russini (@diannaESPN) January 21, 2018
The other important indicator is the on field pre-game activities. Brady typically does not come out earlier than about an hour before game time (which will be around 2 p.m. Eastern) to go through throwing and offensive warm-ups. Let the speculation continue.
As for Burkhead, he’s been a question mark with an injured knee and hasn’t played in the Pats last four games. He’s part of a group of running backs that the Patriots and Bill Belichick can go to this afternoon. Burkhead is active for the game this afternoon, while Mike Gillislee is inactive.
Ian Rapopport of NFL Network had this Sunday a.m. update on the expected actives/inactives at that position:
#Patriots RB Rex Burkhead (knee) suffered no setbacks this week and he’ll play today, as expected, source said. RB Mike Gillislee (knee) will not.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) January 21, 2018
As for the Jaguars, safety Tashaun Gipson, who’s been in a walking boot earlier in the week with his injured foot, is active this afternoon. He is expected to start in the game today.
Also, Jacksonville removed RB Leonard Fournette completely off the injury list, which means he will be ready to go for this afternoon. Third string running back Chris Ivory is inactive for this AFC Championship Game, just as he was not active in last week’s playoff win at Pittsburgh.
T.J. Yeldon was the back up to Fournette and had several key plays last week including a third quarter touchdown and will be the primary backup again this afternoon.
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