Report: Tom Brady separated shoulder in Week 16 of 2011

Tom Brady's shoulder might've already been separated before Super Bowl XLVI. (Ryan Wilson, CBSSports.com)

In December 2011, as the Patriots were closing in on the playoffs, Tom Brady reportedly suffered a strained shoulder during Week 16 of the season against the Dolphins.

Bill Belichick dodged questions at the time about Brady's status, and it looks like he might've had a good reason: Albert Breer of NFL Network (via ProFootballTalk.com) reports Brady actually suffered a separation of his non-throwing shoulder during Week 16.

As Mike Florio pointed out, the Patriots proceeded to put Brady on the injury report nearly every day in between that game and the Super Bowl.

What's odd is, when Brady missed practice to get X-rays done on his shoulder, there reportedly was no separation issue whatsoever.

Brady would go on to have great games (he shredded the Broncos in the playoffs) and not-so-great games (he looked bad against Baltimore).

The Super Bowl highlighted the problem: Brady re-injured his left shoulder when getting sacked by Justin Tuck and, as CBSSports.com's Ryan Wilson pointed out, was a completely different player before and after the sack.

Later, it was reported that the injury Brady suffered (again) wasn't that serious. However, it sure sounds like Brady, if he had a separated shoulder, was dealing with a lot more pain than anyone expected from about Week 16 to the end of the season.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter, subscribe to our RSS Feed watch Pro Football 360 daily at 3 p.m. ET and NFL newsletter. You can follow Will Brinson on Twitter here: @willbrinson.

CBS Sports Senior Writer

Will Brinson joined CBS Sports in 2010 and enters his seventh season covering the NFL for CBS. He previously wrote for FanHouse along with myriad other Internet sites. A North Carolina native who lives... Full Bio

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