Rookie Johnson Gets Another Start

With free safety Gibril Wilson having been declared out of the Philadelphia game with a knee injury, rookie Michael Johnson is again expected to start in his place.

Four players are questionable for tomorrow's matchup in Philly: LB Antonio Pierce (ankle), WR Plaxico Burress (ankle), cornerback Aaron Ross (hamstring) and safety James Butler (hamstring). Officially, the decision on the availability of all of those players will be made at game time. But Burress has not missed a game all season and Tom Coughlin said he expects Butler to play.

Pierce played with a sore ankle last week against the Bears. If he can't play in Philadelphia, Chase Blackburn would start with Gerris Wilkinson ready to step in.

"I've been preparing for this every week for my entire career – I'm always ready," Blackburn said. "Today, I was talking to (Pierce) about Philly and everything they do. This would be his 15th time playing them, so I'm trying to get everything I can from him."

Blackburn, a third-year pro, last started as a rookie on Dec. 24, 2005 at Washington. That day, he intercepted a Mark Brunell pass and returned it 32 yards for a touchdown, but later suffered a season-ending neck injury.

"It was a good and a bad day," Blackburn said.

Three Giants are probable: RB Brandon Jacobs, who missed the last two games with a hamstring injury but practiced fully on Friday; tight end Jeremy Shockey, who was added to the injury list with a stomach issue; and wide receiver Steve Smith, who has missed the last 10 games with shoulder and hamstring injuries.


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