The first thing you need to know about Tom Brady's shoulder injury: For this quarterback, the left side is the right side on which to have it.
Brady has a shoulder sprain, a source with knowledge of the injury said Friday, on what's termed the "non-dominant side." My understanding is that treating it will be more about "pain control" for the New England Patriots, and it shouldn't affect Brady's play, starting Sunday against the Buffalo Bills.
From a purely medical standpoint, a "sprain" is semantics for a slight separation, and that it's to Brady's non-throwing shoulder makes it far more manageable.
Rich Gannon provides his own story on the subject. In the first half of the 2000 AFC Championship Game, the then-Oakland Raiders quarterback was crumpled by Baltimore Ravens defensive tackle Tony Siragusa, landing hard on his left side and suffering a Grade 3 separation of that shoulder -- a far more serious injury than Brady's.
"I went in at halftime and got two massive needles in there," Gannon said Friday night. "I could hardly lift my left arm. I went out and played a couple series in the third quarter, but I just couldn't play. But had we won the game, there's no question I could've played in the Super Bowl two weeks later. And I did play in the Pro Bowl the week after that."
Gannon was, in fact, the MVP of that Pro Bowl, and the coach who green-lighted him to take the field that day in Hawaii actually was his own, Jon Gruden.
Gannon said he worked hard for three weeks in rehabilitation, which helped, and it didn't affect how he threw the ball. Like with Brady, after treatment, it simply became about pain tolerance, as well as properly protecting the shoulder.
"If you're telling me it's a sprain, this kid is as tough as they come, and I'd think he'll be just fine," Gannon said of Brady, who injured the shoulder last Saturday against the Miami Dolphins. "With a week of rehab (in the books), work on range of motion and treatment, I'd think he's already getting that range back, and that strength back. He may not even have to stick a needle in there Sunday. He may be just fine."
The big thing, according to Gannon, is that Brady has worked with the injury for a week, so he likely already has adjusted mechanically.
"It's not a big deal; you can numb it if you need to," Gannon said. "From a mechanical standpoint, there aren't many guys like Brady. It's the same all the time, he's so consistent.
"And he's always talking about that left shoulder, getting that up, watching that elbow and pulling the shoulder through -- using his whole left side, his left leg. My sense is with a little deal like that -- it's one thing dealing with it in a game -- but with a week to prepare, and he'll have a numbing agent if he needs it, he'll be just fine."