SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- No wincing. No limp. No walking boot.
So will Tom Brady be ready for Super Bowl XLII?
That's essentially what the New England Patriots quarterback told reporters Sunday evening, talking publicly for the first time about the high ankle sprain he suffered in the third quarter of the AFC championship game against San Diego.
"This won't keep me out of this game . . . it's going to take a lot more than an ankle," said Brady, speaking to a roomful of reporters at the team's resort hotel, about two hours after the Patriots landed in rainy Phoenix.
Brady, the NFL's most valuable player, wore a protective boot on his right ankle last Monday while visiting the apartment of supermodel girlfriend Gisele Bundchen and was swarmed by paparazzi. He returned to the Boston area Wednesday, but when reporters didn't see him at the Patriots' facility over the next two days, the intrigue grew.
Although Brady has not practiced since the Chargers game, he said he has done "a little bit" and hopes to be able to practice Wednesday.
"I've jogged around, and I've shuffled and dropped and thrown the ball a little bit," Brady said. "Not as much as I would have had I been practicing, but enough to know that I realize I'll be able to play on Sunday."
The Patriots are looking to become the first team in history to finish 19-0, and to join the 1972 Miami Dolphins as the only modern-era teams to win every game. On Sunday, they play the New York Giants, who are scheduled to arrive in Phoenix today.
For years, Brady has been a crossover star whose celebrity transcends the sports world. But his personal life and relationships -- including his breakup with actress Bridget Moynahan, and the birth of their son -- have been in the spotlight even more over the last year.
Still, Brady conceded he was caught off guard by the New York photographers snapping shots of him in the walking boot.
"I was just trying to get in the house as fast as I could, just trying to hobble along," he said. " . . . I think that's just a part of the world we're living in these days. Those places I used to go for refuge aren't necessarily the places you go anymore. Guess it's a good problem to have because we're winning football games. If we were 0-16, no one would care. So I'll take it."
The league has fined Patriots defensive tackle Vince Wilfork for the fourth time this season, slapping him with a $5,000 penalty for unnecessary roughness in the AFC championship game.
Wilfork received a 15-yard penalty for grabbing the facemask of San Diego running back Michael Turner.
Earlier this season, he was fined for a low, late hit on Buffalo quarterback J.P. Losman -- who sat out the rest of that game and the next two because of the sprained knee he suffered -- a late hit on Dallas tight end Jason Witten, and for poking the eye of New York Giants running back Brandon Jacobs.
In all, Wilfork has been fined $37,500 this season.
The NFL has priced Super Bowl tickets at $700 and $900, but good luck getting them at that price.
The asking prices for those tickets range from $2,450 to $19,446 at StubHub, the biggest of online resellers.
Officials there told the Associated Press that the average Super Bowl XLII ticket price is $4,300.