For as long as there is physical contact in the game of football, there are going to be injuries. However, a year removed from an injury-plagued season that saw their starting personnel resemble a revolving door, the Giants are once again facing an alarming number of injuries, especially on the offensive side of the ball.
The incumbent starting offensive line of left tackle David Diehl, left guard Rich Seubert, center Shaun O'Hara, right guard Chris Snee, and right tackle Kareem McKenzie has yet to take any game snaps together. First it was O'Hara, who developed swelling in his ankle. Then Seubert (broken hand) and Snee (knee) went on to miss some practice time. More recently, O'Hara (ankle/tendinitis) is back on the sidelines, where he'll stay for the rest of the preseason.
The offensive line is not the only unit to have been snake bit. Quarterbacks Eli Manning (head laceration) and his backup Jim Sorgi (shoulder) have also missed time with their respective injuries. Earlier in camp, the tight ends were all but wiped out save for Bear Pascoe, who worked quadruple overtime filling in for Kevin Boss (ankle), Travis Beckum (groin/neck), and Scott Chandler (hip flexor).
Even the receivers, a group that last year eschewed injury, was affected. Starters Steve Smith (groin) and Hakeem Nicks (knee/toe) missed time. Mario Manningham (groin), Sinorice Moss (groin) and rookie Tim Brown (hamstring/groin) have been in and out of the lineup.
Ironically, the one group to not be heavily affected by the injury bug this year is the running backs, a group that last year was so banged up that they lost their identity as a physical, smash mouth unit.
Currently, DJ Ware is the only one of the group to be sidelined, as Ware suffered his second concussion in the last 12 months in the Giants' preseason game against the Steelers.
Otherwise, Brandon Jacobs, who last year was rendered ineffective due to a knee injury, said he has never felt better, even though he did miss the Giants' second preseason game against Pittsburgh with a stiff neck, an injury that was the result of doing shoulder shrugs in the weight room.
Ahmad Bradshaw, who in 2009 played through two broken feet and a sore ankle, has looked no worse for the wear, as he's been shifty and quick in making his cuts and picking up yardage.
Second-year man Andre Brown, who missed all of his rookie season with an Achilles injury, has also been running well while fullback Madison Hedgecock, who was reduced to a shell of his 2008 form thanks to a torn labrum in his shoulder, has made steady improvement thus far this summer.
Despite the offense's inability to get at least one series together in a preseason game, Manning said he wasn't worried about the unit falling behind in accomplishing their objectives this summer.
"I don't think we're far behind -- actually, we're not behind at all," he said last week. "I think (injuries are) a part of training camp every year. I think we have a veteran group, especially up front. You might miss some guys early, but the later you get into the preseason right before the first games start, you want to be as healthy as possible."
--CB Aaron Ross, who missed most of the 2009 season with a hamstring injury, suffered another blow this summer as he was diagnosed with plantar fasciitis. Ross, who has a slight tear in his plantar fascia, visited with noted foot specialist Dr. Robert Anderson in Charlotte, NC. Ross' foot has been placed in a cast that he'll wear for 7-10 days, after which time he'll work on his strength and modality before any decisions are made on his status.
--C Shaun O'Hara, who has been battling an ankle injury all summer, developed tendinitis and has been shut down by the team's medical staff for the rest of the preseason. O'Hara, who these days is sporting a cast on his ailing leg, is hoping that the extended rest will help eliminate the issue.
"We finally reached a point where we decided that we need to just really try to isolate it and get some complete and total rest," said O'Hara. "Really, it's just trying to put us in the best position for week one, the start of the season."
--In addition to Canty and Pierre-Paul, also not playing for the Giants against Baltimore were WRs Ramses Barden (neck) and Sinorice Moss (groin); OL Shaun O'Hara (ankle/Achilles) and Kevin Boothe (PUP, pectoral); RB DJ Ware (concussion); TE Travis Beckum (neck); QB Jim Sorgi (shoulder); DBs Michael Johnson (back), Aaron Ross (foot), and Terrell Thomas (calf); LB Chase Blackburn (knee); RT Kareem McKenzie (migraine).
--QB Eli Manning who worked part of last week wearing just a baseball cap, was finally able to fit his helmet on in time for the team's final practices before their game against Baltimore. Manning's modified helmet doesn't include much in the way of new padding, but does include a chinstrap that buttons a little higher than where he's normally accustomed to buttoning the chinstrap.
"I've always had both of them on the side," Manning explained about his chinstrap. "(The new chinstraps are) just to ensure that the helmet stays on, so I'm going to go with that the next couple of weeks, and see if I like it. If I don't, once (his wound) heals up better, if I want to go back to the one on the side, we can do that."
--OL Shawn Andrews took most of his first snaps at guard for the Giants. Afterwards, Andrews reported that he felt great and he reaffirmed his commitment to the game of football. " I'm a competitor. The fact that people are telling me that I don't want to play football anymore, and that I don't have a love for the game, that speaks for itself. Being back speaks for itself. I hope I have six or seven more years, being realistic. We'll see."
--Giants WR Hakeem Nicks and Pittsburgh CB Ike Taylor were both fined $10,000 a piece by the league for fighting in the second preseason game. Nicks and Taylor, who threw some punches after the fourth play from scrimmage was over, were both ejected from the game by referee Scott Green. Afterwards, Nicks claimed that he was trying to finish off a block when Taylor began throwing punches.
--Although veteran Keith Bulluck has been taking some snaps in place of Clint Sintim, which has prompted some to wonder if Sintim's starting job could be in jeopardy, against Baltimore, Bulluck lined up at the strong side only in the team's nickel package, which they ran for the first two series of that game. Defensive coordinator Perry Fewell has repeatedly said that his goal is to find the right combination of players for every situation this summer, after which he'll decide which packages and personnel lineups will be to the team's advantage and which ones will not.
--Head coach Tom Coughlin said that he has been encouraged by the progress OL Shawn Andrews, who has mostly worked at guard since signing with the Giants on August 19, has made.
"He's coming. He's had a lot thrown at him and of course he came in at a point in camp when we had a lot of stuff for him, but he definitely feels better and is getting used to his pads."
Andrews, who saw his first snaps as a Giant against Baltimore, was equally optimistic.
"I was really excited to get back, to be out there playing, and knocking some of the rust off," he said. "I had a pretty good week of practice. I'm still trying to learn the system, but all in all, it just feels great to be back."