The New England Patriots have sauntered through the rest of the league this year. But on the verge of perfection, their leader came up gimpy.
Photographs and video show quarterback Tom Brady wearing what appears to be a walking boot on his right foot while in New York on Monday. A video of Brady in the cast is available on TMZ.com.
The Boston Herald reported that Brady -- flowers in hand -- was visiting the apartment of his girlfriend, supermodel Gisele Bundchen.
Since the photographs of Brady in the walking boot were taken, he has been spotted wearing both cowboy boots and black dress shoes. He did not appear to be limping while walking.
During his weekly radio show on WEEI, Brady, this season's NFL MVP, did not deny that he suffered some sort of injury during Sunday's win over the San Diego Chargers in the AFC Championship Game.
"Ah, you know, there's always bumps and bruises. I'll be ready for the Super Bowl," Brady said. "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."
Sources told the Boston Herald on Tuesday that Brady had suffered a high ankle sprain against San Diego, but the injury was not considered serious and he was expected to be ready for the Super Bowl on Feb. 3.
Tom Brady Sr., the Patriots' quarterback's father, told 1050 ESPN New York's Andrew Marchand that Tom "tweaked his ankle a little bit."
Brady Sr. said it's not a big deal. If it were he said he and his son would have spoken about it and "anybody that thinks a little tweak is going to stop him is just wasting ink."
The chief of the foot and ankle division at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston said Brady doesn't appear to be seriously injured.
In a telephone interview with The Associated Press, Dr. Chris Chiodo, who is not treating Brady, said he has used a boot to treat several ailments, including a sprain, a strain, a bone bruise, tendinitis or overuse of the foot. He said he strongly doubted Brady had a displaced fracture.
"I don't think he'd be walking on it if that were the case," Chiodo, an orthopedic surgeon, told AP.
Patriots spokesman Stacey James wrote in an e-mail to The Associated Press late Monday night that the team had no comment on the photos. Brady's agent, Donald Yee, did not return a phone call or e-mail seeking comment.
Under the guidelines of the NFL's injury report, the Patriots do not have to list player injuries until the Wednesday before Super Bowl XLII. The game is Feb. 3.
Brady, who threw 50 touchdown passes and only eight interceptions during the regular season, was not at his best Sunday. He threw three interceptions in the 21-12 victory over the Chargers.
He now has two weeks to recover. The Patriots meet the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLII as they try to complete a perfect 19-0 season.
Brady has been extremely durable in his NFL career. He started his 126th consecutive game Sunday when the Patriots beat San Diego.
The Patriots' backup quarterbacks are Matt Cassel and Matt Gutierrez. Cassel has thrown 39 passes in his three NFL seasons, all with New England. Gutierrez, a rookie, completed the only pass he threw this season.
Coach Bill Belichick was not available for comment Tuesday. He was not asked about Brady's physical condition during his news conference Monday. Players were given three days off after Sunday's game and were not available. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.