Ward, the productive but injury-plagued running back, finally returned in the Giants' improbable 21-16 come-from-behind victory over the Bears after missing the past four games with groin and ankle problems. From the very start, the Bears couldn't stop him and by halftime Ward had 12 rushing attempts, 110 yards and the Giants' lone touchdown.
But with 8:06 remaining, Ward on four-yard run went down and stayed down.
"I felt a pop and the initial pain,'' he said.
It was his last carry and X-rays revealed a fractured left fibula that will undoubtedly keep him out the remainder of the season. Ward said the break is more of a crack and not as severe as the season-ending injury to linebacker Mathias Kiwanuka, but broken bones need months, not weeks, to heal.
Ward finished with 24 carries for 154 yards, once again starting in place of injured Brandon Jacobs, once again showing he can do the job and once again unable to get out of a game unscathed.
"I'm holding out hope right now,'' Ward said. "We'll see the severity of it. Hopefully it's not that bad, but if it is we have other running backs, Brandon Jacobs will be back this week. It's football, you get hurt, any given play. I'm fortunate enough to help my teammates get this victory.''
The Giants kept their word and kept the ball away from Devin Hester in their 21-16 victory over the Bears at Soldier Field.
Hester had a punt and kickoff return for touchdowns two weeks back against the Broncos and the Giants knew better than to tempt fate. Jeff Feagles punted five times and Hester had just three returns for a total of 16 yards. Feagles sent just one punt out of bounds but angled all his kicks to the sideline. His final punt of the first half was his best, a 52-yarder to the left side that Hester returned a mere four yards.
"Feagles did an outstanding job,'' Tom Coughlin said.
There were four kickoff opportunities for the Giants. Lawrence Tynes sent two of them bouncing out of bounds, one away from Hester and to Rashied David and one late in the fourth quarter that Hester returned 19 yards.
Butler did it
The Giants already-depleted secondary took another hit on the opening defensive series, when SS James Butler was forced off with a hamstring injury. That put rookie Craig Dahl on the field for the first time in his career with the regular defense, but Butler was able to return for the next series. Another rookie, Michael Johnson, started at free safety in place of injured Gibril Wilson (knee) but had to leave briefly to have X-rays taken of his neck.
The Bears certainly noticed this commotion in the defensive backfield and they should have taken advantage with a big play early in the second quarter. Rex Grossman unloaded a deep ball that fell perfectly into the hands of Hester, who easily sprinted past the hobbled Butler. Hester should have had himself a long touchdown reception but he dropped the ball on the Giants 30-yard line.
"Man, that's a big break,'' Butler said. "I tried to run with him, not blaming anything on my hamstring, they did a good job of them running that play, I'm just happy they dropped the ball.''
David Tyree, a special teams player who did not have a catch all season, had two on the game-winning drive, including a 24-yarder to the Bears 17. Tyree was on the field in place of ineffective Sinorice Moss.
"That's what I've been doing since I've been here,'' Tyree said. "I don't think anybody ever looks at me to be that guy but I think every time I'm given that opportunity I prove that I can be a guy who can come in and make plays for this football team.''
LB Kawika Mitchell played a solid game with 12 tackles and one-half sack. … The Giants are 5-1 on the road. … Kevin Dockery made his second career start, replacing rookie Aaron Ross (hamstring) at left cornerback.
Ward's Season Likely Over
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