TORONTO -- New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady said in an interview Wednesday that his rehabilitation from season-ending knee surgery was "going really well," but he didn't offer any timetable for a return to the football field.
In some of his first public comments since being injured in the first quarter of the regular-season opener in September, Brady also told Toronto sports radio station The Fan 590 that he didn't believe the Patriots would be badly hurt by the defections of key personnel such as offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels and vice president of player personnel Scott Pioli.
Brady wasn't asked during the interview if he expected to be ready for training camp or the start of the 2009 regular season. Nor was he asked about ongoing speculation that his recovery from surgery has been slowed by a post-operative infection in his left knee.
"It's going really well," Brady told the radio station of his rehab. "Anyone who's come back from injuries that require surgery knows it's just a process, and there are some good days, some bad days, and you just have to keep plugging through them."
Brady had the surgery Oct. 6 in Los Angeles and confirmed on his Web site a couple of weeks later that he underwent a second procedure after developing an infection.
In Wednesday's interview, in which Brady promoted a sports cream, the 2007 NFL MVP described himself as the Patriots' "biggest cheerleader" after the injury. He said he watched every game and shared the team's disappointment in missing the playoffs with an 11-5 record.
Brady said he was confident the team would make improvements in the offseason to try to return to the playoffs, and he downplayed the departures of McDaniels and Pioli. McDaniels was hired as head coach of the Denver Broncos, and Pioli became general manager of the Kansas City Chiefs.
"There's change every year, and you have to get used to it," Brady said, adding that the team's ownership and head coach remain intact. "As long as we have Robert and Jonathan Kraft, and as long as we have coach (Bill) Belichick, we'll be just fine," he said.
Matt Cassel, Brady's backup for the previous three seasons, played well after taking over as the starter, and reports have indicated that the Patriots are considering placing the franchise tag on him as insurance should Brady not be ready for next season.
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press