Do you believe Tom Brady is playing through a significant injury?

Debate the answer with Chad Finn and Boston sports fans at The Sports Q.

An unhappy Patriots quarterback Tom Brady heads for the locker room after congratulating Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger following Pittsburgh's 17-10 victory.

Welcome to Boston.com’s Sports Q, our daily conversation, initiated by you and moderated by Chad Finn, about a compelling topic in Boston sports. Here’s how it works: You submit questions to Chad through TwitterFacebook, email, and any other outlet you prefer. He’ll pick one each weekday to answer, then we’ll take the discussion to the comments. Chad will stop by several times per day to navigate. But you drive the conversation. 

Do you believe the report that Tom Brady might be playing through a torn MCL in his knee? It seems like something convenient to leak since he hasn’t been playing well, but it also seems like something he would do.  Thoughts? – Len S.

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First, the idea that this is a possibility comes from an interview the NFL Network’s Mike Giardi did with The Sports Hub’s Toucher and Rich program Wednesday morning. Here’s what he said:

“His lower half has been off, dating back to Tennessee. I would not be surprised when it’s all said and done that we hear, I’m guessing it’s an MCL. I’m saying he has a tear or a partial tear of the MCL [in his left knee], and that’s why he’s still playing.

“He’s basically surrendering his left leg, and I think there have been times when he’s almost relying too much on his arm and not his lower half. He’s not stepping forward into [throws] because he doesn’t want to risk the front side of his taking hits there.”

It’s tough to tell from Giardi’s comments where his knowledge of the situation ends and the speculation begins, but having followed his career for years at NECN and NBC Sports Boston before he joined the NFL Network, he’s as credible as it gets in my opinion.

To answer the actual question, yes, I think we’re going to find out at the end of the season that Brady was playing through something significant, whether it’s an MCL injury or a different but still serious diagnosis. It wouldn’t be the first time – he’s played with broken ribs, a messed-up ankle, shoulder injuries, and on and on — and his toughness should never be in question.

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There is circumstantial evidence. We know he hurt his knee to some degree when he ran that stupid pass route against the Titans. We know he’s been wearing a bulky brace on his left knee, because he had to drop to the turf and adjust it during the Dolphins game – and his performance dropped noticeably after that. It also explains why he was bailing out on the rush at times against the Steelers. He played like a quarterback that knew one more hit in the wrong spot could ruin everyone’s postseason plans.

I don’t know that it’s an MCL. I’m not sure many with the Patriots would know. But I trust Giardi’s reporting, and it sure does look like Brady is playing hurt.

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In a way, that might be reassuring, because the alternative is that his play is declining noticeably.

What does everyone else think? Do you believe Tom Brady is playing through a significant injury? I’ll hear you in the comments

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