New rules limiting hard contact in practice was supposed to lower the number of injuries, but the New York Giants have found that not to be true.
Giant problem with injuries for New York
Abbreviated training camps were supposed to have delivered teams into the opening week with fewer bruises and broken bodies than ever before.
Despite the lighter load, they have endured an avalanche of injuries, many occurring during the newly tamed practices that the league legislated in collective bargaining.
Worse, the epidemic has targeted one unit: the defence. For a team that ranked 17th last season in points allowed, a thinning of the ranks does not bode well.
Camp began for the Giants on July 30 with 10 cornerbacks. When it adjourned, five were injured, notably Terrell Thomas (torn knee ligament), Bruce Johnson (torn Achilles) and rookie Prince Amukamara (broken foot). Linebacker Clint Sintim (knee) and prized rookie tackle Marvin Austin (torn pectoral muscle) also succumbed.
All but Amukamara are done for the year; he could resurface in mid-October.
With the pre-season completed, the Giants surely figured their medical staff could catch their breath. Then linebacker Jonathan Goff went down Monday with a season-ending knee injury, leaving the rookie, Greg Jones, a sixth-rounder, who began the summer listed on the third team, as the starter. And the two-time Pro Bowl defensive end Justin Tuck, coping with a neck stinger from a pre-season game, skipped practice on Thursday, saying he might sit out Sunday, when the Giants wheel themselves out to play the Redskins in Washington.
It is ironic that a team coached by the hard-driving, old-school-type coach, Tom Coughlin, would be so decimated in the new-age NFL, where two-a-days in pads are prohibited in camp, and only one full-contact workout per week is permitted during the season.
No coach has had to recalibrate his methods as much as he has, but Coughlin has been stoic about the injury wave.
"We accept the challenge, look at it as another form of adversity, and we go on," he said.
Still, Coughlin acknowledged some amazement at the frequency and severity of the injuries, stating: "You do have your moments.
"I mean, we are human."
Osi Umenyiora was not immune, having undergone knee surgery on August 19. But the All-Pro defensive end is expected to miss only a few games.
Among the Giants' defenders, he is considered a lucky one.