FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) - The first time Tom Brady was hurt in an AFC championship game, he returned a week later to lead the Patriots to their first Super Bowl title.
Now he has two weeks to recover from a seemingly minor injury and said he would play in the Super Bowl against the New York Giants on Feb. 3.
New England's star quarterback walked without a protective boot on his right foot or a noticeable limp in New York on Tuesday. The previous day, video and photos showed him wearing the boot as he followed his girlfriend, model Gisele Bundchen, into her Manhattan residence.
Brady left Foxborough after Sunday's 21-12 win over the San Diego Chargers and wasn't due back until Thursday after coach Bill Belichick gave his players three days off.
Brady, this season's NFL MVP, has a high ankle sprain that is ``mild,'' according to the Boston Herald. The Boston Globe characterized it as a ``minor'' high ankle sprain.
Patriots spokesman Stacey James said he had no information about the injury. Brady's agent, Donald Yee, did not return telephone calls or an e-mail seeking comment. Belichick was not available for comment Tuesday. He was not asked about Brady's physical condition during his news conference Monday.
Brady told WEEI in his weekly radio appearance on Monday, ``I'm not missing this one.''
He did not appear to be limping Sunday before being sacked by Igor Olshansky and Stephen Cooper with just over 8 minutes to go. He had thrown three interceptions before that. After the sack, he completed all four of his passes.
In the AFC championship game after the 2001 regular season, Brady sprained his ankle late in the second quarter and didn't return. Drew Bledsoe, who had lost his starting job after being injured in the second game of the season, replaced him and threw a touchdown pass in New England's 24-17 win over Pittsburgh.
There was just one week between that game and the Super Bowl. When the Patriots arrived in New Orleans the day after the win over the Steelers, Belichick wouldn't say if Brady would play but promised an answer after practice two days later. He chose Brady.
The Patriots upset the heavily favored St. Louis Rams 20-17 and Brady won the first of his two Super Bowl MVP awards.
Brady has started every game since the third game of that season, a streak that reached 126 against the Chargers.
During his appearance on WEEI, Brady was asked if his leg was injured.
``Ah, you know, there's always bumps and bruises. I'll be ready for the Super Bowl,'' he said Monday before the photos and video emerged. ``I'm not worried about that. I'm not missing this one. I'd have to be on a stretcher to miss this one. There will be treatment this week. In games like this, you get a little nicked up. It's nothing serious.''
The chief of the foot and ankle division at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, Dr. Chris Chiodo, told The Associated Press in a telephone interview on Tuesday that Brady doesn't appear to be seriously injured.
``I don't think he'd be walking on it if'' he had a displaced fracture, said Chiodo, who is not treating Brady. He said he has used a boot to treat several types of ailments, including a sprain, a strain, a bone bruise, tendinitis or overuse of the foot.
The Web site, TMZ.com, posted a video Tuesday showing Brady walking without the boot and without a noticeable limp through a group of photographers in New York and getting in a cab. The video, lasting 1 minute, 11 seconds, then briefly showed Bundchen leaving a residence.
As Brady approached the cab, a voice could be heard on the video chanting, ``Let's go Giants. Let's go Giants.''
Several Web sites had photos Monday - credited to infphoto.com - that showed Brady with a walking boot on his right foot. A video of Brady walking with a slight limp from an SUV to Bundchen's home also was on TMZ.com.
Later Monday, other pictures showed him wearing black shoes - and no boot - when he showed up at a New York hotspot.

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