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Don’t count Jimmy Garoppolo out just yet

By the looks of it on Sunday, no way injured quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo comes back to play Thursday, right?
By the looks of it on Sunday, no way injured quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo comes back to play Thursday, right?Jim Davis/Globe Staff

FOXBOROUGH — Don’t count Jimmy Garoppolo out just yet.

According to a league source, the Patriots are hoping Garoppolo, who suffered a sprained AC joint in his right throwing shoulder Sunday, will be able to suit up for Thursday’s game against the Texans, even if it’s in a backup/emergency capacity.

Patriots coach Bill Belichick hasn’t ruled out bringing in another quarterback, however, telling WEEI Monday afternoon that the team will “probably work somebody out here and see where we’re at.’’

The coach also said he expects to know more about Garoppolo’s status on Tuesday.

Danny Amendola, who caught two scoring strikes from Garoppolo in the 31-24 win over the Dolphins, won’t be surprised to see his QB in uniform.


“He’s a competitor, so he’ll do whatever he can around the clock to get ready for this week and whenever he’s going to play next,’’ said Amendola, shortly after dining with Garoppolo — cereal was on the menu. “He’s a tough kid. He’s Italian, so, I wouldn’t count him out.”

The Patriots did work out a handful of players on Monday, including fullback Glenn Gronkowski, Rob’s younger brother, but none were quarterbacks.

Garoppolo suffered the injury when he was driven to the turf by Dolphins linebacker Kiko Alonso late in the first half.

Though it won’t be easy to get ready to face the Texans because of the quick turnaround, the key is the grade of sprain he suffered.

Because of the short week, the Patriots had to release an injury report Monday and Garoppolo was listed as “did not participate.” There was not an actual practice, so the report is based on a players’ likely participation level.

According to Dr. Luga Podesta, the director of sports medicine at St. Charles Orthopedics in New York, it is entirely possible for somebody to bounce back from a mild, or Grade 1, AC sprain quickly.


“There’s different grades of this injury,’’ said Podesta, who has worked for the Cowboys, Saints, Dodgers, and Angels. “You go from minor, little strains of the ligament, where there’s no separation or very minimal separation of the two joints, to almost a complete dislocation.’’

Because Podesta hasn’t treated Garoppolo or seen his X-rays, he isn’t sure how severe the injury is. He said sprained AC joints are common among football players who are driven to the ground the way the Patriots quarterback was.

He also said hockey players who get checked into the boards often suffer the same ailment.

“Typically, the treatment for the minor degree of separation is we’ll put [the patient] in a sling and treat him symptomatically with medications,’’ he said.

He said he could envision a scenario where Garoppolo suits up on Thursday.

“The training staff and physical therapy staff can actually help stabilize that joint from a playing standpoint by actually taping the joint down to act like a ligament outside the body,’’ Podesta said.

“Basically, you just strap it down. With the more severe injuries, it’s difficult to do that.’’

Tonia Cowan/Globe Staff

For Grade 1 sprains, pain tolerance is a major factor.

“There are different ways you can treat the pain as far as locally with an injection to basically numb it up before he plays,’’ said Podesta, who said that in extreme cases — Grade 4-6 strains — surgery “would be required to stabilize the joint.’’


Dr. Glen Ross, cochief of sports medicine at New England Baptist Hospital and head of the New England Shoulder and Elbow Center, was watching the game.

He guesses Garoppolo suffered a Grade 2 sprain, and speculates it would take one to four weeks to fully heal.

Like Podesta, he hasn’t examined the quarterback. “We don’t know what his MRI looks like,” Ross said. “We don’t know the extent of his injury.”

Podesta also warned of the risks of playing with a sprained AC joint.

“That joint helps stabilize the shoulder, so every time he gets into a throwing position where he’s accelerating through the ball, the arm is being elevated up and rotating, which will put stress on that joint,’’ he said.

“So if he has any instability there that can hurt him, and if he actually lands on that again, he can actually make it worse.”

Felice J. Freyer of the Globe staff contributed to this report. Jim McBride can be reached at james.mcbride@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @globejimmcbride.