Whether one wants to make excuses for the Giants’ losing streak or not, there is no denying that the Giants have dealt with a number of big injuries this season. From the injuries on both lines to the decimated cornerback group, general manager Jerry Reese has seen a number of players brought in during the offseason miss chunks of the season or even be shelved on injured reserve.
If the game against Jacksonville didn’t prove the Giants simply cannot catch a break, then the injury report that followed certainly did. Geoff Schwartz had only just returned from a preseason injury, debuting for the Giants versus Dallas out of his natural position, only for the big free agent signing to leave Sunday with injury and subsequently put on injured reserve. An injury put struggling veteran Mathias Kiwanuka on injured reserve, but also the underplayed and natural replacement Robert Ayers as well.
This painful trend for the Giants could be set to continue with running back Rashad Jennings, yet another free agent signing, in danger of missing more time. Jennings, whose Week 3 performance against Houston remains one of the best individual rushing performances of the season, missed five weeks before returning to the lineup Week 11 versus San Francisco. His two touchdowns and 91 yards rushing in Jacksonville looked like a return to form for a player that was finding his stride pre-injury, but an ankle injury sustained in that game saw him miss practice Tuesday and Wednesday.
Jennings himself sounded more assured of his status for Sunday. “I’m just trying to heal as quick as I can,” He said. “I think [my ankle] should be good.”
Jennings, of course, does not have the final say. It remains to be seen whether Tom Coughlin will give Jennings the green light to play, but it could be a risk worth taking given the need for the Giants to find a win and Tennessee’s struggling run defense.
Though Jennings himself has seen and felt firsthand the impact injuries have had on the Giants season, he like other Giants has failed to make excuses. To him, it is a test of a player’s mental strength.
“Dealing with injuries and the mentality, you can’t ever let situations or a person dictate your attitude no matter what you’re doing, especially when you’re a professional athlete,” Jennings said of the amount of injuries the Giants have been dealing with. “That’s always been my mentality ever since I’ve been in the league ... Everybody in this locker room, since I’ve been here, has been capable of getting the job done. I wouldn’t say it changes the mentality between the snaps. Obviously let’s not overlook that, if somebody pinches you you’re going to say, ‘Ouch.’ But how you respond to it is important. We come to work every single day and nobody’s satisfied.”
Certainly no Giant will be satisfied with how this season has gone, but if Jennings can suit up this Sunday he could be the difference in getting the Giants back in the win column.