Brady optimistic over hand injury, hopes for Gronk return

Tom Brady is not yet satisfied with the condition of his injured hand, but hopes to be fully fit for next Sunday's Super Bowl clash with the Philadelphia Eagles.

The New England Patriots quarterback sustained an injury to his right throwing hand that required 12 stitches prior to the AFC Championship Game, but was nevertheless able to lead his side past the Jacksonville Jaguars.

In an interview with ESPN on Sunday, Brady provided an update on his recovery.

"I'm still working on it," said the five-time Super Bowl champion. "It was only 11 days ago when I hurt it, but I think we're in a decent place and hopefully it can get better over the course of the next seven days.

"It's not quite where I want it to be right now, but hopefully by game time, it should be."

Brady did not appear on the team's injury report on Wednesday, but was a limited participant on Thursday before being a full participant on Friday. He reportedly had an appointment this week to have the stitches removed from his hand.

Meanwhile, tight end Rob Gronkowski remains in the concussion protocol, but he was on the field Saturday for the non-contact portions of practice for the first time since suffering a head injury against the Jaguars.

Despite Gronkowski being listed as 'out' on this week's injury report, Brady remains optimistic he will have one of his top targets back for the big game.

"It may have seemed seamless [without Gronkowski], but it really wasn't," Brady said. "Losing such a great player is hard for any offense and we don't want to do that again, so I'm hoping he's out there all the time. He's obviously still working his way back.

"Gronk is such a great player, a great team-mate. We've got so many other guys at receiver, tight end and running back that really did step in when he wasn't out there, but we're gonna need him out there this week if we're gonna play our best."

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