When Josh Freeman hurt his thumb during the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' game against the Chicago Bears in London, the initial reports listed it as a sprain. It wasn't bad enough to cause Freeman to miss any practices or games, but it was bad enough to cause discomfort and to require him to wear a wrap on his hand.
But after spraining his thumb, Freeman apparently suffered another injury to his throwing hand. From the St. Petersburg Times:
Freeman needed five stitches in his right thumb when a gun he was firing at a shooting range recoiled Oct. 31, the Bucs confirmed Tuesday.
"Yes, there was a sprain," Freeman said in a text message to the St. Petersburg Times on Tuesday. "The sprain was the worst part. The cut was just cosmetic."
During a press conference at noon on Tuesday, Freeman confirmed that he cut his hand at a shooting range and that the injury was minor. He grew up shooting guns with his father and he owns a few himself, but after speaking with GM Mark Dominik, he's decided he didn't display the best judgment in going to the shooting range so soon after spraining his thumb. He doesn't plan to shoot guns during the season in the future.
Many people will want to draw a link between the injury and Freeman's poor play recently -- he has thrown five touchdowns and six interceptions since sustaining the injury -- but it's impossible to say how much it's effected his play. Freeman claims the cut was merely cosmetic, and that neither it or his sprained thumb has affected his play in the least. Considering that Freeman hasn't missed any practices since sustaining his thumb sprain, it seems likely that he's telling the truth.
It's tempting to want to explain away Freeman's struggles with a handy (no pun intended, sorry) injury excuse, but it seems more likely that he's simply slumping. His receivers have the most dropped passes of any team in the league, and Freeman has likely tried to force too many throws. He's not as bad as he has played recently, so Bucs fans need to remain patient...as difficult as that can be.