EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (WFAN/AP) — New York Giants wide receiver Steve Smith has been placed on injured reserve with a knee injury.

The Giants announced the expected move Thursday and signed tight end Jake Ballard to take his spot on the roster.

Smith injured the articular cartilage in his left knee in the win over the Minnesota Vikings on Monday and will undergo season-ending knee surgery next Tuesday.

An orthopedic surgeon told The Associated Press the surgery requires a very long rehabilitation process, but it is possible Smith might be ready for training camp.

Smith, who set a team record with 107 catches last season, was hurt on the opening play of the fourth quarter when he was tackled from behind on a 12-yard reception, his 48th of the season. The game was his first since partially tearing a pectoral muscle in practice on Nov. 11.

“I feel bad for Steve,” coach Tom Coughlin said Wednesday. “He fights his way back, he gets back on the field, he gets a little bit acclimated to game conditions again, and then is injured.”

Smith is the fifth Giants’ receiver to be knocked out since minicamp, and the third since the season started, joining Ramses Barden and Victor Cruz.

The bottom line is the Giants (9-4) will now face the Philadelphia Eagles (9-4) on Sunday in the showdown for first place in the NFC East with Hakeem Nicks and Mario Manningham being Manning’s prime targets, and Derek Hagan, Michael Clayton and Devin Thomas filling in when the team uses three- or four-receiver packages.

Defensive back Ben Hannula was signed to the practice squad, taking Ballard’s spot with that group.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.

pixy Injured Knee Lands Giants Smith On IR

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