Pats coordinator says Brady is in high spirits, expects QB back in 2009

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Tom Brady's offensive coordinator has spoken to the injured quarterback and is optimistic he will work diligently to be back on the field in 2009.

Josh McDaniels expressed that optimism without setting a timetable for the NFL's reigning MVP, saying only it would happen "whenever that may be next year."

He said before the New England Patriots practiced on Friday that he wasn't aware of all the details of Brady's recovery from knee surgery.

The Boston Herald reported Thursday that Brady had additional surgery on his left knee after infection set in following his first operation. Brady suffered a season-ending knee injury in the opener, a 17-10 win over the Kansas City Chiefs in which he was hurt in the first quarter.

"I'm not really aware of all that stuff that's going on," McDaniels said. "I've heard all the other stuff, but I've talked to Tommy and he obviously has got a good approach and a good attitude on this whole thing. And however it ends up turning out, I'm sure he'll work as hard as he can to get back out here, whenever that may be next year.

"And so, we're all behind him and can't wait to see him whenever he gets back into town."

Brady had his first operation, done by Dr. Neal ElAttrache, on Oct. 6 in the Los Angeles area. Brady confirmed that on his Web site last Saturday and said he had another operation on the knee after it became infected.

The Herald reported Thursday that Brady underwent two more procedures since then to try to fight the infection.

The Patriots, citing team policy, have not given details of the injury. It had been widely reported as a torn anterior cruciate ligament and a torn medial collateral ligament.

Dr. James Andrews, a highly regarded orthopedist based in Birmingham, Ala., was consulted by ElAttrache when the infection appeared, according to the Los Angeles Times. The newspaper reported Friday that the infection appeared to be responding to antibiotics and doctors are confident the timetable for his recovery from the ligament graft Brady had has not been compromised.

"What I gather from talking to Neal [Thursday] is that Tom's getting better, and what has been done is getting him well," Andrews told the newspaper. "The main thing is to save the graft."

A spokesman for Andrews said Friday he was at a conference and unavailable for comment.

Matt Cassel, who replaced Brady at quarterback, said Thursday he had talked with the three-time Super Bowl winner.

"We don't really talk about his injury situation much, to be completely honest. It's more football-oriented," Cassel said. "I really don't know, like I said, the status of Tom from an injury standpoint. All I know is that when I talked to him he's in high spirits and he sounds good and he says that he's recovering well."

The Patriots on Thursday denied a report on ESPN.com, citing a source it did not identify, that "the Patriots, as an organization, are upset with the situation because they were clear that they wanted Brady's surgery done under the direction of doctors of their choosing in Boston."

The team said that wasn't true.

"This unsubstantiated report does not represent the team's views whatsoever," its statement said. "We have supported Tom Brady one hundred percent from day one of this process and will continue to do so."