By Curt Macysyn
The New York Giants injury report usually contains players in one of three categories: long-term, carryovers and recently added, and this week is no different. The list ballooned from seven players to 12, without counting Will Beatty and Jason Pierre-Paul, after last week’s loss to the New Orleans Saints. This week, head coach Tom Coughlin got testy at his press conference on Wednesday, about the continued inquiries about player injuries.
In response to another injury question, this one about Victor Cruz, Coughlin replied,”You know what I’m going to do, I’m going to have somebody come in here and answer all the medical. Seriously. I’m going to have somebody do that because I’m not going to do this every time I come in front you now. Tomorrow, don’t ask me this stuff. If you want it today, I’ll give it to you today, but that’s it.”
Unfortunately for Coughlin and his squad, the current state of the franchise does indeed revolve around the injury report, and with the G-men not making a deal at the trade deadline on Tuesday, the only reinforcements are likely to come from the return to good health of quality players. The injury situation has also caused a ripple effect of continued roster turnover, so that Big Blue maintains enough depth at key positions to compete effectively from game to game.
This week, the tight end position came front and center as the Giants placed rookie defensive end Owa Odighizuwa on short term injured reserve with a hamstring injury. The open space on the 53-man roster was taken up by the promotion of tight end Jerome Cunningham from the practice squad. Cunningham provides depth at tight end as Larry Donnell continues to recover from a neck injury. Undrafted rookie Will Tye and Cunningham will be the only active tight ends on the field on Sunday. Odighizuwa can make his on field return on Jan. 6 against the Philadelphia Eagles, the last game of the regular season, if he recovers from his hamstring injury.
Carryover injuries continue to plague Jon Beason, Prince Amukamara, J.T. Thomas, Rueben Randle and Geoff Schwartz. Randle and Schwartz aggravated existing injuries on Sunday, and if they play this week, will do so at less than 100 percent. Amukamara is getting close to returning from a partially torn pectoral muscle, but he miss at least one more week before he gets back on the field. That also means one more week of Jayron Hosley and Trevin Wade playing NFL cornerback.
The Beason saga continues to be a broken record, as the injury-plagued linebacker tries to recover from knee and ankle maladies. Uani ‘Unga normally replaces Beason, but he has a neck injury as well, and last week that thrust Jasper Brinkley into the mix at middle linebacker. Brinkley came out of the game with a (-2.0) grade by Pro Football Focus, and he was one of 12 defenders with a negative grade against New Orleans.
Running back Orleans Darkwa bruised his lower back against the Saints, and his injury could limit the running back rotation. His main presence, however, is on special teams, where he is very valuable to the team. Safety Craig Dahl is also a special teams ace, but he seems likely to play on Sunday after being listed as probable. Reserve cornerback Leon McFadden pulled his groin muscle at practice on Wednesday, and he is listed as questionable for Sunday. McFadden could also be a candidate to be waived to open up a spot for Jason Pierre-Paul, which would have to take place by 4 p.m. on Saturday in order for JPP to be active for Sunday’s game. Linebacker J.T. Thomas still appears to be several weeks away from returning from an ankle injury, so Jonathan Casillas will start at the SAM linebacker spot.
Recovery from long-term injuries to Victor Cruz, Jason Pierre-Paul and Will Beatty do give a bit of optimism moving forward. Cruz is doing some jogging on his own, but will need several more weeks of recovery before he can give it a go at game speed. We will find out on Saturday if Pierre-Paul will play this week. Will Beatty has one more week of practice before he has to be placed on the active roster.
Craig Dahl, S (Neck)
Orleans Darkwa, RB (Back)
Geoff Schwartz, OG (Ankle)
Uani ‘Unga, LB (Neck)
Leon McFadden, CB (Groin)
Rueben Randle, WR (Hamstring)
Prince Amukamara, CB (Pectoral)
Jon Beason, LB (Ankle)
Victor Cruz, WR (Calf)
Larry Donnell, TE (Neck)
Owa Odighizuwa, DE (Hamstring/Short Term IR)
J.T. Thomas, LB (Ankle)
Curt Macysyn has been covering the New York Football Giants for the past four seasons for Examiner.com, and he is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA). Born and raised in New Jersey, Curt attended Seton Hall Prep School in South Orange, N.J. and is a graduate of Rutgers University – New Brunswick. Follow him on Twitter @CurtMac23 for the latest NFL and New York Giants news.