The Brady news that didn't break


The Brady news that didn't break

By Mary Paoletti

Rumor day! Rumor Day! Rumor day!

Oh, man. I love rumor days in the sports world. But there's one important thing to remember: they're sneaky.

A rumor is sometimes born when a media outlet says "Let's stir the pot. Remember those 'what ifs' we got from some sources' sources? Let's make a story about one of those. Or what about that thing that happened to that guy a while ago? Let's recycle that but sound all surprised and dramatic so people think it's news."

Thus, the rumor -- thrice removed from the supposed source -- is born.

This is what happened with Tom Brady's broken foot. Or supposedly broken foot. Whichever.

Your reaction after reading this should be to wonder 'Didn't Brady hurt his foot back in November?' You would be wondering correctly.

But if you're thinking 'Oh, no! Brady broke his foot?! OMG! I hope he's okay! No wonder the Patriots lost that playoff game! That game doesn't count! WE WANT A MULLIGAN! PUT THE PLAYOFFS ON HOLD. RE-PLAY THE GAME AFTER HE'S HEALED," then you got hosed.

Toldja they're sneaky.

Don't be taken in. Tom E. Curran tells you why Brady's problem on Sunday was the Jets and not his foot right here.

In his story, Curran mentions the fact that I heard rumblings of Brady's possible breakage back in December. Allow me to elaborate.

I went to a bar on Christmas Eve. (Don't judge me, just listen to the damn story.) Anyway. I was enjoying drinks with my best friend, Jenna, when we were interrupted by two older gentlemen.

Short, Bald, Bespeckled Man: My wife died of anorexia; would you like a piece of cheese?

Me Blinks several times: No, thank you.

Jenna Covers mouth: Wow. Wow. That is not appropriate bar conversation.

Short, Bald, Bespeckled Man: Looks down to cheese plate. Looks back at me. Looks up at TV showing football highlights Tom Brady's gotta broken foot. Eats piece of cheese.

Me: Turns to short guy Wait, what?

Tall, Greasy Man: It's true. Takes a pull of scotch and soda

Me: Whhaat are you talking about?

Short, Bald, Bespeckled Man: Iz true. I was atta conference today in Brewer -- you know where Brewer is? -- an' Tom Brady's doctor's brother told everybody that hezgotta broken foot.

Tall, Greasy Man: It's true. Takes a pull of scotch and soda

Me Raises eyebrow: We know his foot is injured, but it hasn't been reported as broken. I'm in that locker room every week with several other reporters. Why is this news being shared at a conference in Brewer, Maine and not by the Patriots?

Short, Bald, Bespeckled Man: I dunno, but iz true. I heard it myself. Today. Atta conference in Brewer. You know where Brewer is?

Tall, Greasy Man: It's true. Takes a pull on scotch and soda

Me: Turns back to Jenna Tom Curran's gonna have a good laugh at this. Sends text to Tom

And that's it.

I did not pick up a big red rotary phone and dial an emergency line to my editor: "ART. A SOURCE JUST TOLD ME THAT BRADY'S FOOT IS FRACTURED. WE'VE GOT TO BREAK THIS IMMEDIATELY. DEAR GOD, I NEED TO TWEET THIS. "

Why? C'mon. No need to further insult your intelligence today.

Celtics to begin season with Marcus Smart on the shelf


Celtics to begin season with Marcus Smart on the shelf

WALTHAM, Mass. -- The Boston Celtics will be a bit shorthanded for the first few games of the season with Marcus Smart being out with a left ankle sprain injury.
The Celtics were holding out slim hope that it would heal in time for tomorrow’s game against the Brooklyn Nets.
Smart confirmed a report shortly after the injury on October 19 that it would likely be at least a couple weeks before he returned to action.
Following Tuesday’s practice, one in which Smart watched from the sidelines, he gave an update on his ankle injury which occurred in the Celtics’ last preseason game, a 121-96 loss to the New York Knicks.
“A couple weeks, that’s the projection (of a return) they gave me,” Smart said. “They want to make sure we can limit this from happening again.”
Smart said the two-week timetable began from the time of his injury, which means it’s likely that he will miss the Celtics’ first four games of the season.
That’s a much rosier timetable than the left ankle sprain injury Smart suffered as a rookie which kept him sidelined for several weeks afterwards.
“It shouldn’t be too long,” Smart said. “Better safe than sorry.”
His absence will certainly have an impact on a Celtics defense that ranked among the NBA’s best a year ago, and has only gotten stronger with the addition of Al Horford.
But the Celtics have been a "next man up" team for since Stevens has been the head coach. With Smart out, that’s not going to change.
“That’ll be a great opportunity for someone else to step up in his place,” said Celtics head coach Brad Stevens.
Boston guard Isaiah Thomas echoed similar thoughts.
“When somebody’s hurt, the next man has to step up,” Thomas said. “Guys have to take advantage of these opportunities.”
And for Smart, it’ll mean displaying his leadership skills from the sideline.
He’s totally comfortable taking on that role right now.
For his teammates, it might take a little bit of getting used to. Smart has been very loquacious on the Celtics sideline since suffering the injury.
“These last four days, he has been yelling … I told him to shut up a few times,” quipped Isaiah Thomas. “That’s just him, especially when he’s not playing. He’s very vocal.”
Terry Rozier, the likely benefactor in terms of minutes played due to Smart’s injury, agreed.
“He’s been sitting right there in that seat,” said Rozier, adding, “and he hasn’t shut up yet. It’s good; you’re going to need a guy like that who is going to talk to you. It’s like a guy, he says things … it’s like he’s been in the league 10 years. He knows his stuff.”
Smart’s knowledge bank includes understanding that his current injury will probably happen again at some point. The key isn’t dealing with the injury, but how you move forward from it.
“This isn’t my first ankle sprain and I know it won’t be my last,” Smart said. “I just have to let it heal on its own and let your body do what it does.”

Patriots acquire linebacker Kyle Van Noy from Lions


Patriots acquire linebacker Kyle Van Noy from Lions

The Patriots acquired Kyle Van Noy, who was the Lions’ 2014 second-round pick and starting linebacker this season, on Tuesday. 

Why former Pats executive Bob Quinn would send a starter East for what is reportedly just a conditional draft pick is something we’ll try to ferret out.

The Patriots were no doubt interested because they lost Jonathan Freeny to IR with an injury, rookie Elandon Roberts is an undersized thumper (Van Noy is 6-3, 252) and Shea McClellin is well, just… there so far.

Van Noy has two years remaining on his rookie deal so -- provided he shows something -- he could be around awhile. The move -- one week before the trade deadline -- is a familiar one from the Patriots who added players like Jonathan Casillas and Akeem Ayers in 2014 prior to their Super Bowl run.

This story from last season indicates that Van Noy’s lack of production in his first two seasons with the Lions was merely a matter of circumstance. 

Perhaps. We’ll find out soon enough. Meanwhile, the name Van Noy made me perk up because I remembered him as having a central role in the excellent book The System by Jeff Benedict and Armen Keteyian.

Read the excerpt on Van Noy here. It will give you a better understanding of the road he’s traveled.