EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — After two straight impressive wins, the New York Giants have more reason to be optimistic with defensive end Mathias Kiwanuka taking part in individual drills.
Shortly before practice began Wednesday, Kiwanuka was pedaling on a stationary bike in the area where injured players work out. A few minutes later, Kiwanuka took part in individual drills for the first time since doctors found a bulging disk in his neck a little less than two weeks ago.
“There’s light at the end of the tunnel,” said Kiwanuka, who has been sidelined the last two games. “From what I’m hearing now, there’s a very strong possibility I’ll be back and I’ll be back soon. It makes it easier. Hopefully, they will keep it going until I come back.”
That’s the optimistic Kiwanuka talking. He does not know when, or if, he will be cleared to practice. There remains a possibility he might need surgery if the swelling around the disk does not subside.
The best news is that Kiwanuka is pain free for the first time in about 10 days.
“It’s a frustrating thing,” said Kiwanuka, who had a then-high team-high four sacks after three games. “As a player you feel once your body feels good, you should be able to go out there and play. At the same time, I’m not a physician and I didn’t go to school and spend time studying and researching things to make that decision.”
The surgeons have told him that each player responds differently to treatment for a bulging cervical disk. He will have a wait a little longer before another CAT-scan is taken.
“From a player’s standpoint, I feel I can go out there and play,” he said. “I just have to trust the doctors.”
Besides riding the stationary bike, Kiwanuka ran a few agility drills, noting it was just good to have his No. 94 jersey back on again.
Kiwanuka doubts he will be ready to play Sunday when the Giants (3-2) face Detroit (1-4). That might be fortunate. The last time the teams met in 2007, Kiwanuka broke his left leg and missed the Giants’ march to a Super Bowl title.
“The situations I have gone through, the experiences I have been through, the ultimate frustration is being hurt when your team is out there winning a Super Bowl,” Kiwanuka said. “I haven’t gotten to that point yet. I know all the emotions come and go, so I know there are times you are seriously frustrated because you can’t play. But I am able to call on those experiences and say this isn’t the end of the world. There is going to be a chance for me to go out there and perform.”
Pro Bowl center Shaun O’Hara, who has missed the last three games with problems with his left ankle, took a couple of practice snaps on Wednesday. He hopes to participate fully in practice on Thursday.
“I think the one thing we’re trying to do is not do too much the first day and we’re just trying to hope for the best and hope it feels the same tomorrow,” O’Hara said.
The bursitis and Achilles’ tendon problem did not cause him much pain, said O’Hara, who last week was unable to run well.
“I’ve been dealing with it since day one. So I feel pretty comfortable that we’ve really quieted things down, so we’re just waiting to see how it responds,” O’Hara said.
When asked if he intends to play Sunday against Detroit, O’Hara was quick to respond.
“I hope so, otherwise what the hell am I doing out here?” he said “It’s taken longer than I would have liked, but I’m pushing.”
Strongside linebacker Keith Bulluck, who has missed the last two games with turf toe, also returned to practice on a limited basis Wednesday.
“I think I could have gone today,” Bulluck said. “I just didn’t, so tomorrow I definitely see myself out there.”
Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.