Tom Brady misses practice three days before AFC title game, wears glove

Tom Brady's right hand injury likely won't stop him from playing in the AFC title game, but that doesn't mean it won't affect his ability to grip and throw the football against the Jaguars' elite defense. Three days before the big game, Brady missed practice.

On Wednesday, Brady's injury led to limited participation at practice. On Thursday, Brady didn't participate at practice, according to the Patriots' official injury report.

Brady was, however, spotted wearing a glove on his right hand. His thumb is looking bulkier than usual in the photo below, right? 

Keep in mind that Brady is a quarterback who does not prefer to wear a glove.

So, in a span of 24 hours, we've gone from DEFCON 5 to DEFCON 4 to DEFCON 3. 

When the Patriots announced that Brady would miss his scheduled press availability to spend time with team doctors on Wednesday, nobody seemed overly concerned. This wasn't the first time Brady was rescheduling his weekly press conference with reporters. We were still at DEFCON 5.

But when the Patriots announced an hour later that Brady was limited at practice with the right hand injury -- his throwing hand -- the alarm bells began ringing. We were at DEFCON 4, even if every report indicated that Brady would be OK to play in Sunday's game. In the immediate aftermath, Karen Guregian of the Boston Herald reported that Brady jammed his hand when someone accidentally ran into him and that X-rays showed no structural damage. 

We're now at DEFCON 3 with Brady unable to practice on Thursday. Nobody expects Brady to miss the game, but it's not crazy to wonder if his injury could affect his ability to be effective against a Jaguars defense that can generate pressure and takeaways at a high rate. It's no longer inconceivable to think this fluke hand injury could be the thing that derails the Patriots' dreams of winning a second straight Super Bowl

Heck, the Patriots have even gone from nine-point favorites to 7.5-point favorites all because of Brady's hand.

Brady will speak with reporters on Friday, but nobody should expect him or anyone else on the Patriots to be forthcoming about the severity of the injury. We'll likely have to wait until Sunday to find out just how much the injury restricts him from doing what he does best.

You can stream Sunday's AFC Championship Game on CBSSports.com.

CBS Sports Writer

Sean Wagner-McGough joined CBS Sports in 2015 after graduating from UC Berkeley. A native of Seattle, Sean now resides in the Bay Area. He spends his spare time defending Jay Cutler on Twitter. Full Bio

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