Hot Topic and Player Notes: Giants

The Giants are going to face a severely strapped Philadelphia Eagles roster on Sunday, a team without quarterback Donovan McNabb, center Hank Fraley, wide receiver Todd Pinkston, defensive tackle Paul Grasmanis and running back Correll Buckhalter -- all of whom currently reside on injured reserve, with the exception of McNabb.

And he just might land there before too long, after a third (or fourth or fifth) medical exam to decide the next course of action on his sports hernia.

But the Giants have some doubt as to the availability of star tight end Jeremy Shockey, who has a sore and bruised chest and may not play Sunday, either.

If he sits out, his place will be taken by Visanthe Shiancoe, who has exactly one pass reception this season for 5 yards -- and he isn't much of a blocker, either.

Shockey, on the other hand, is the Giants' second-leading receiver with 37 catches for 585 yards and five touchdowns. He is also a strong blocker, and as a deep-down-the-middle threat, he often draws double coverage.

"It's day-to-day," said coach Tom Coughlin, expressing what coaches around the league express when they just aren't sure and don't want to admit what they think is going to happen.

The offense without Shockey is considerably diminished. That would give the Eagles the chance to double-team wide receiver Plaxico Burress without Shockey there to make that a foolish decision. Rather than count on Shiancoe as a receiver, Coughlin and offensive coordinator John Hufnagel would probably go with a steady diet of three-wide receiver sets, with David Tyree, expected to be back after sitting out three games, serving as the third wideout.


--TE Jeremy Shockey returned to practice Thursday after missing the padded portion of Wednesday's drills. "I fully thought he was going to practice yesterday, but he wasn't able to make it and didn't go in the padded part," coach Tom Coughlin said. "That's why I said he didn't practice. Those are the rules. He was out there running in individual and caught the ball, but didn't take part. And so, by rule, we have to indicate that he didn't go through the team part of practice."

--DE Justin Tuck (high ankle sprain) practiced Wednesday and is said to be "close" to returning to the active roster for Sunday's game against Philadelphia. Tuck has been a surprisingly effective rookie (third round) and with the loss of RDT William Joseph (dislocated left elbow) he could provide additional manpower on passing situations.

--RB Tiki Barber needs slightly less than 94 yards rushing per game for the rest of the season to surpass his career-best season total of 1,518 yards, set last year. He currently has 855 with six rushing TDs, meaning he could break his single-season rushing TD record with six more. He had 11 in 2002.

--SLB Carlos Emmons, who has spent his 10-year NFL career in the NFC East, has been inactive for the last three games. But his partially torn right pectoral muscle has apparently healed sufficiently to allow him a chance to play on Sunday. Even if he is given clearance, he might not start, since second-year Reggie Torbor has been playing particularly well as his replacement.

--RDE Osi Umenyiora (6-3, 280) leads the team with eight sacks, already a career high (he's in his third season). The Giants have 23 sacks through nine games; last year they had 40 in all. Umenyiora was the team leader last year, too, with seven. LDE Michael Strahan missed half the season and finished with four.

--It has been 27 years since the famous (or infamous) Fumble Game forever changed the Giants' franchise -- that 19-17 loss that was decided with seconds remaining when QB Joe Pisarcik and FB Larry Csonka messed up a handoff exchange, the ball popped loose and bounced directly into the hands of Eagles defensive back Herman Edwards, now the Jets coach. He returned it 31 years for the winning TD. The game was Nov. 19, 1978, and since then the teams have played within a week of that date 10 times. Sunday's game will be the 11th such re-visit.

The Giants Beat Top Stories