Brady practices with Patriots in Tempe

PHOENIX, AZ -- Tom Brady was back where he belongs Monday, behind center for the New England Patriots' first practice session of Super Bowl week.

The NFL's Most Valuable Player missed three practices last week with a tender right ankle, which he had taped for Monday's training at Arizona State in nearby Tempe. According to a pool report filed by the Chicago Tribune's Dan Pompei, the only reporter allowed to watch practice, the star quarterback appeared to have a slight limp. But he participated in all phases of practice, including jogging the length of the field twice at the end of drills.

Coach Bill Belichick, as he always does, refused to comment on any injuries, or on Brady's presence at the workout.

"Everybody practiced," Belichick said. "The injury report will be out Wednesday."

Brady's return from an injury he said he sustained in the AFC championship game against San Diego was a welcome sight to receiver Wes Welker.

"Anytime the MVP of the league is back, it has to be a positive," Welker said. "He looks good -- the same dimples and all."

Brady, who wasn't made available to the media Monday, said his ankle was feeling good when the AFC champions met with reporters for the first time Sunday shortly after arriving in Phoenix.

"I'm not concerned about how it's going to affect my play," he said. "This won't keep me out."

Nor do his teammates seem concerned.

"I don't worry about Tom," tackle Matt Light said. "He can take care of himself. I have a bunch of guys in front of me from the Giants to worry about."

Brady's health became an issue a week ago when he was spotted wearing a protective boot on his right foot while visiting supermodel girlfriend Gisele Bundchen in New York. He sat out all three practices in Foxborough, Mass., when much of the game plan was being installed.

Will that slow down the record-setting passer against the New York Giants in Sunday's Super Bowl, when New England tries to become the first NFL team to go 19-0?

"This won't keep me out of this game," he said Sunday while comparing the injury to a similar problem before the 2002 Super Bowl, in which he was the MVP. "That ankle didn't keep me out of the last game. It would have to take a hell of a lot more than an ankle."


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