THIS STORY HAS BEEN FORMATTED FOR EASY PRINTING

Brady dealing with broken finger on throwing hand

By Albert R. Breer
Globe Staff / January 4, 2010

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HOUSTON - It’s been well-known that Tom Brady has spent the last month-plus grinding through injuries.

Now specifics are starting to emerge.

According to sources close to the team, Brady’s been playing with a broken finger on his throwing hand, suffered in practice, since early December.

Additionally, Charley Casserly of CBS reported yesterday that Brady is playing with three broken ribs. Sources close to the team told the Globe Brady has been playing through a serious rib injury, but the specific diagnosis was unclear.

Brady has been listed on the injury report with a finger ailment since the Friday before the Patriots’ game in Miami Dec. 6. The rib injury was added the next week, although it is believed that one originated before that game and was aggravated on a hit by Miami’s Joey Porter and Randy Starks.

“We rally around him,’’ said veteran tailback Fred Taylor. “For him to fight through a lot of that stuff, we rally around him. You hate to see him get hit, you feel bad if you’re the guy that allowed it to happen. But you gotta keep fighting. You gotta keep fighting for it. It goes through him.

“I’ve played with a lot of tough ones. He’s definitely one of the tough ones.’’

Brady started yesterday’s game and played the first three series before being pulled midway through the second quarter. He returned at the start of third quarter, playing four series, before sitting out New England’s last-gasp attempt at victory in the final two minutes.

He finished with 186 yards and an interception on 17-of-26 passing, but he was markedly more effective in the first half, before the Texans adjusted to attacking a Wes Welker-less offense.

The challenges only get tougher from here. The third-ranked Baltimore defense is next.

“We know how tough he is and what he can tolerate,’’ Taylor said. “The team rallies around him. He’s our leader, and I’d go to war with him any minute. Any minute.’’

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