SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. - Don't worry, Patriots fans. Tom Brady plans to play in the Super Bowl.

New England's star quarterback walked up the three short steps to the podium with ease last night, showing no signs of the right ankle injury that had become such a hot topic since he was spotted wearing a protective boot last Monday.

"It's feeling good. I'll be ready to go," Brady said with a smile as the AFC champions met the media for the first time shortly after arriving in Phoenix.

It was the first time Brady acknowledged he was injured in the AFC Championship Game.

"It was in the San Diego game, I think in the third quarter," Brady said, referring the Patriots' 21-12 victory last Sunday.

Since then, Brady hasn't practiced, but said he moved a little bit during the week and "shuffled around."

"I'm not concerned about how it's going to affect my play," he said. "This won't keep me out."

Brady reportedly has a minor high ankle sprain. He wore a protective boot on his right foot last Monday in New York, causing a major stir and concern among Patriots fans hoping the club would beat the New York Giants in the Super Bowl and become the first team in NFL history to finish 19-0.

After returning to Foxborough, Mass., on Wednesday from a trip to see supermodel girlfriend Gisele Bundchen, Brady wasn't seen by the media the next 2 days while they were allowed into the locker room and at practice.

"I was glad to be back in New England and in the insulated atmosphere of our locker room," he said.

Earlier yesterday, Brady appeared in front of reporters and photographers for the first time since last Sunday, at a departure rally in Foxborough. *