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NFL: Should Patriots Fans Be Worried about Tom Brady's Injured Shoulder?

FOXBORO, MA - DECEMBER 24: Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots sits on the field after being sacked by the Miami Dolphins during the second quarter at Gillette Stadium on December 24, 2011 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Winslow Townson/Getty Images)
Winslow Townson/Getty Images
Hugo OlguinContributor IIIDecember 30, 2011

The New England Patriots finished a regular-season victory against the Miami Dolphins feeling good and ready to close out the season and march into the playoffs.

That's until quarterback Tom Brady had shoulder pain in his left shoulder.

Brady had his left shoulder x-rayed for a separation, and the results came back negative.

He took a hard hit during the Miami game on a run he did.  He went to dive and was hit by a Dolphins' defender.  His left shoulder was drilled into the field, and he came up pulling on his shoulder.

No one know how serious it was until it was reported that he had x-rays and did not practice much this week.

He only had limited participation in Thursday and Friday's practice.  Brady is currently listed as probable for the Patriots regular-season finale against the Buffalo Bills.

The Patriots are still fighting to hold on to the No. 1 seed in the AFC, giving them a bye week and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. 

This is something the Patriots should be nervous about.  Anytime Brady is hurt or sore, should put fans on pins and needles.

He's the leader of the team and the reason that offense can score so many points.  The team needs Brady to compensate for the defense that's one of the worst in the NFL.

Patriots coach Bill Belichick never gives out much details about his player's injuries, and I would not have expected anything different. 

FOXBORO, MA - DECEMBER 24:  Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots sneaks past Cameron Wake #91 of the Miami Dolphins during the second half of New England's 27-24 win at Gillette Stadium on December 24, 2011 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Winsl
Winslow Townson/Getty Images

I would be very surprised if Brady did not play in the game Sunday.  New England is still playing for home-field advantage, and Belichick is not known for holding back against his opponents.

It would be interesting to see how Brady does against Buffalo.

Back in Week 3, the Patriots were taken down by the Bills 34-31.  Brady threw four touchdowns but was intercepted four times by the Bills' secondary.

I believe Brady will be motivated enough to play and play a great game.

After this game, I wonder how Brady's health will play a role in the playoffs.  He just needs to make it through Sunday's game, and he could rest for a week to prepare for the playoffs.

I would hope Belichick would protect Brady if he starts to get roughed up by the Bills defense. 

Without Brady, I would expect the Patriots to not get anywhere near the Super Bowl with backup Brian Hoyer under center.

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