Tom Brady as healthy as he's been after resting knee

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady never eased off the gas to end the regular season, playing deep into New England's Week 17 win over the Jets. That win clinched a playoff bye.

And as New England prepares to face the Chargers today in a Divisional Round playoff game, that bye helped Brady. Sources say Brady is as healthy as he's been today since he began the season, having made good use of the bye.

Previously, Brady battled an MCL sprain, sources say, one that took him a few weeks to overcome. In his worst statistical season since 2014, it clearly affected Brady.

Brady comes into today having thrown for 4,355 yards and completing 65.8 percent of his passes. But he has a 97.7 passer rating during a season where the average performance of the QB has gone up dramatically. Perhaps the knee bothered him more than he let on.

The injury occurred as Brady slipped, misstepped, then fell playing receiver on a double pass on Nov. 11 versus the Titans. He was on the injury report until Week 15.

At various times, he could be seen fiddling with his knee brace or cutting his pregame warm-ups short.

Thanks in part to the bye, Brady is healed and there is no structural damage in his knee, sources say. Besides an exit physical, nothing is planned after the season for his knee.

Late in December, Brady discussed his knee injury with WEEI-FM in Boston, saying, "I was on the injury report for I think three or four weeks with a knee, but I've been practicing every day since I came off that, and I feel great. I really do. Everyone has little bumps and bruises."

Follow Ian Rapoport on Twitter @RapSheet.

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