Training Camp: Wednesday August 7

Tiki Barber strained rib cartilage on his right side, an injury that Jim Fassel said should keep Barber out of action for about 10 days.

ALBANY - All Tiki Barber did was take a handoff from Kerry Collins in a non-contract drill moments after the team stopped stretching and started practicing. It was then that Barber "felt like someone stabbed me.''

It sounds worse than it is.

Barber's pain was caused by a strained rib cartilage on his right side, an injury that Jim Fassel said should keep Barber out of action for about 10 days. That's not very alarming, but considering Barber's worth to the team - he's the most valuable and versatile offensive player - anything that happens to the Giants top running back is worth noting.

After rushing six times for 24 years in the preseason-opening victory over the Texans, Barber will miss one and possibly the next two games.

"I've missed a preseason game every year I've been here,'' Barber said. "Missing one won't be a big deal, especially since we have five this year. I got good work in this past week.''

Fassel at first said his "guesstimate'' was that Barber would miss a week and later amended that prediction, saying trainer Ronnie Barnes told him Barber would likely be out for 10 days.

Nothing about the situation appears ominous, but hearts race around the Giants when anything at all happens to Barber. Early in camp last year, Barber broke a bone in his left hand and missed all four preseason games. At the time, he said it was no big deal but looking back, he admitted all the inactivity made him rusty and played a role in his getting off to a slow start.

More Camp News

LB Dhani Jones (hamstring) returned to practice, as did rookie WR Tim Carter (back). Carter left early because of soreness. G Jason Whittle (hamstring) also returned on a limited basis.

Punter Rodney Williams fractured his right wrist last season while making a tackle and he admitted he felt some trepidation when he was the last man back on Avion Black's 71-yard return for the Texans. "I had a couple things go through my head,'' said Williams, who leaped on Black's back to drag him down. "I definitely didn't attack him like I usually would.''

First-year defensive coordinator spent his first game on the field rather than in the press box and he remains unsure where he'll wind up during the season. "You're right in the action [on the field] but it wasn't as chaotic as I thought it to be,'' Lynn said. One wrinkle Lynn will have to smooth out, he said, is a tendency to start coaching players on the side when he is supposed to be signaling in the next defensive call.

Michael Strahan attempted to end his verbal feud with Buccaneers DT Warren Sapp concerning the legitimacy of Strahan's sack record. Sapp claims Strahan's 221/2-sack record should have an asterisk attached to it because Brett Favre took a dive to give Strahan the record-breaker. "I don't know where it came from or why it even happened,'' Strahan said of Sapp's contention. "I'm not a hateful person. I got no malice for anybody. We should have more respect for ourselves and each other to continue to go into something that I don't even know where it came from.''

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