NEW YORK (WFAN/AP) — Giants general manager Jerry Reese made an abrupt reversal this weekend after telling reporters that Mathias Kiwanuka, coming off a serious neck injury last season, isn’t “out of the woods yet.”
“He’s got to make a decision: Do I want to play?” Reese said at the NFL Scouting Combine. “He’s got to make that decision himself. There’s some risk probably involved. There’s risk, period, but when you have a neck injury you have to be careful.”
Soon afterward, Reese admitted in a statement that Kiwanuka is “fully committed to returning to football.”
“After I spoke to the media this morning at the combine, I had a conversation with Ronnie Barnes, who confirmed for me that last night we did receive the final written evaluation that gives Mathias medical clearance to return to the field,” Reese said. “The consensus of all of the spine physicians and Dr. (Russ) Warren is that it is safe for Mathias to return to play.”
The Giants placed the five-year veteran on injured reserve last season with a herniated cervical disk after waiting more than a month to see if rest would fix his neck.
With his contract up, it’s unknown whether the Giants are willing to re-sign a player with a neck problem.
“It’s painful for us to go this route with Kiwi, but we’ve exhausted all of our options,” Reese said last October. “What’s most important is for him to get healthy. We’re praying and hopeful that by next fall he will be back at 100 percent and playing for the New York Giants.”
Kiwanuka was having an outstanding season, with four sacks in the first three games, before being diagnosed with the cervical disk problem.
This was the second major injury for Kiwanuka, the Giants’ first-round draft pick in 2006. He broke his left leg in November 2007, the season the Giants beat New England to win the Super Bowl.
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