Brady has more procedures for infection; Pats unsure of return

Updated: October 24, 2008, 6:02 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

Doctors are aggressively fighting an infection in Tom Brady's surgically repaired left knee.

Brady recently acknowledged on his Web site that doctors went in "to clean and to test the wound" on Oct. 15 because of the infection. The New England Patriots quarterback has had two more similar procedures since then.

The story was first reported by the Boston Herald and confirmed by ESPN's Wendi Nix.

The Patriots, sources told ESPN early Thursday, are upset because they wanted Brady's surgery done under the direction of doctors of their choosing in Boston.

The Patriots later denied that report in a 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."

Brady's surgery was done in California by a doctor his family preferred, and now there are major problems. Brady was supposed to be back in New England by now, but a timeline for his return remains unclear.

A person close to Brady told ESPN: "Tom is looking at months, not weeks, to fix this."

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NFL analyst Mark Schlereth says that players are never the same after surgery and mentally adjusting to that is the biggest challenge of any career. Listen


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According to a report in the Los Angeles Times, Brady's surgeon, Dr. Neal ElAttrache, consulted with renowned orthopedist Dr. James Andrews after the initial infection appeared.

Andrews, based in Birmingham, Ala., gave his support and affirmation to ElAttrache's procedures and follow-up, as well as ElAttrache's credentials.

"[Neal is] very knowledgeable and as good a decision-maker in taking care of athletic injuries -- including complications -- as anyone in the world," Andrews told the Times.

Andrews said that according to ElAttrache, Brady appeared to be recovering well, and was responding to the aggressive, infection-clearing treatments, according to the Times report.

"Once the healing process catches back up, it really doesn't set him behind to any degree relative to the overall healing process. The main thing is to save the graft," Andrews said in the Times.

According to the Herald, Brady is on a six-week course of intravenously administered antibiotics, and is still having follow-up exams at the Kerlan-Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic in Los Angeles, where the surgery took place. The Herald reported the infection originated from an incision to repair the medial collateral ligament.

If the infection is not brought under control, the patellar tendon graft used to replace Brady's anterior cruciate ligament could become compromised, according to the Herald's report. If that happens, he will have to undergo another surgery on the ACL. That would reset the clock on his rehabilitation.

Brady had surgery on Oct. 6 -- 29 days after he was injured in the Patriots' season opener -- on a hit by Kansas City Chiefs safety Bernard Pollard. Brady reportedly tore the anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments in the knee.

New England Patriots spokesman Stacey James said Wednesday the team would let Brady comment on the status of his injury.

On Friday, Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels said he had spoken to Brady and expressed optimism -- without setting a timetable -- that Brady would be back on the field "whenever that may be next year."

Information from ESPN reporter Wendi Nix and The Associated Press was used in this report.

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