When New York Giants cornerback Prince Amukamara was involved in a violent collision with teammate Ryan Mundy in the loss to Dallas Sunday night, it wasn’t the first time he suffered a concussion.
”I was about 10 years old and I ran into a basketball pole,” Amukamara said. ”That time, I was only out for about 20 seconds. This time, I saw the lights and everything. It was a great hit. It took both of us out.
”But it was OK, because it was just an accident.”
Amukamara received clearance to return to practice Friday and should start Sunday’s game against the Broncos (1-0). That’ll be a big boost to the Giants (0-1), as they try to contain Denver quarterback Peyton Manning.
Amukamara had to endure the NFL’s strict testing program for players who suffer concussions, so he was unable to practice most of the week.
”I had to name the months of the year and the last three presidents,” Amukamara said. ”My memory was pretty good.”
But the Giants are hoping to erase theirs, after the loss to Dallas on Sunday night. Of course, having Amukamara on the field will help.
”There wasn’t a doubt in my mind,” Amukamara said. ”Just in the doctors’ minds. I thought I was going to play until I was considered out. I got all the mental reps. I was always studying and preparing like I was going to be out there. I was optimistic. Everyone was optimistic.
”I’m glad I stayed that way.”
Amukamara, the Giants’ first-round draft pick out of Nebraska in 2011, started 11 games last season at corner, and is a key cog to what is a short-handed group. Starting free safety Stevie Brown is out for the season with a torn ACL. And starting strong safety Antrel Rolle did not practice Friday with a groin injury.
”Barring any setback, he seemed to do well,” Giants coach Tom Coughlin said. ”He spent a lot of time this week in and out of team meetings, so he got all the pluses and minuses from the game last week. He did alright in practice (Friday).”
Amukamara thought his injury was ironic.
”Last week, someone asked me about concussions and I said that I didn’t think I ever had one playing football,” Amukamara said. ”Then, I get one. It’s funny how that happened. It made me ask other guys who had one how they felt. It’s not like a sore thumb or a sore knee. It’s your head. It’s important to make sure everything was alright. But I’m feeling great.”
The Broncos have weapons everywhere, and Manning will be refreshed and ready to go, especially considering Denver last played Sept. 5.
”We have our work cut out for us,” Amukamara said. ”They have great receivers like us. It’s going to be a challenge.”
Amukamara wasn’t the only Giant to get clearance Friday. Center David Baas, who missed the last three weeks with a knee injury, returned and will play Sunday.
”I was looking forward to getting back,” Baas said. ”You never want to watch. I know things take time, but I’m stubborn. I wanted to do whatever I could to get back out there.
”I felt helpless not playing.”
NOTES: Rolle was listed as questionable with a groin injury that Coughlin deemed ”a little soreness. We kept him out today as a precaution.” The Giants also listed rookie DE Damontre Moore as questionable with a shoulder injury. Running back Da’Rel Scott (knee) is probable and TE Adrien Robinson is out with a foot injury. … LB Allen Bradford, who was claimed on waivers from Seattle after Dan Conner was put on the injured reserve with a neck injury, practiced, but Coughlin said that Bradford would probably be limited to special teams duty. ”He just got off the plane, so he’ll have a limited role.” … RB Brandon Jacobs, who was re-signed earlier in the week, will get some playing time. ”He looks like he’s in decent shape,” Coughlin said. ”He’s done a lot of running. The veterans on the team are glad to see him. As the saying goes, we’ll see.”