Giants WR Steve Smith will miss Cowboys game
The Giants will have to get by for the foreseeable future
without their top possession receiver, Steve Smith.
On Friday, Smith, one of the NFL’s best third-down receivers
with 11 of his 47 catches coming in that situation, was officially
ruled out of Sunday’s game vs. Dallas (1-7), with what coach Tom
Coughlin described as a partially torn pectoral muscle.
Mario Manningham, sporting the Giants’ biggest per-catch average
at 15.4 yards, will replace Smith at the split end. Second-year,
big-play star Hakeem Nicks, the NFL’s top-scoring wide receiver
with nine touchdowns, will remain at flanker.
Second-year player Ramses Barden and undrafted rookie Duke
Calhoun will see time in the multiple-receiver sets.
Coughlin said Smith will be on a ”week-to-week” status, but
indicated he won’t plot a definitive timetable for his return until
he begins rehabilitation. Coughlin said no surgery will be
”It’s a partial pec and he just has to rehab,” Coughlin said.
”But whatever the basis of it is, he has to go through a process
of healing, so I’m not sure exactly how long.”
The injury occurred during drills Thursday when Smith was
reaching for a pass.
Moving Manningham into Smith’s spot could lead to more
double-coverage for Nicks, an athletic and shifty weapon in the
open field. But adjusting to defenses won’t be the only pressure
the 2009 first-round draft choice will have felt this week. His
alma mater, the University of North Carolina, is under NCAA
investigation, and the school listed his name among five former Tar
Heels who may have given some of the 13 currrent players under
scrutiny $3,300 worth of ”impermissible gifts of cash and jewelry
and impermissible assistance” with transportation after the 2008
”I’m not angry at all,” Nicks said, when asked his thoughts on
North Carolina bringing his name into the investigation. ”That’s
college. I’m in the NFL now, and I’m focusing on football.”
The investigation also involves improper conduct from a tutor
and improper relationships with agents. But the school has stated
that Nicks is not suspected of having any ”inappropriate
relationships with agents, prospective agents, or runners.”
”I’ve got a game this week,” Nicks said as he shook his head
to all further questions about the investigation, and proceeded to
talk about the Cowboys, and Manningham’s upside for this
”We know he’s going to step up. We pretty much all know each
other’s routes, so it shouldn’t be a problem.”
Manningham, third on the team with 25 catches for 385 yards and
three touchdowns, said he looked forward to an increased role.
”I’ve just got to play football,” he said, ”stick to what I
do and don’t try to make the game harder than it is. The good thing
is, we know Dallas and we know what they’re going to run.”
The Giants might be using that starting group for a while. At
least two weeks, according to Coughlin.
”They say a limited amount of time, but not necessarily right
away or this week or next week,” Coughlin said. ”I won’t know
until (Smith) starts rehabbing. He hasn’t had much swelling or
discomfort, so a lot of it in the beginning will probably be
preventative to make sure there’s no further injury, and then to
strengthen and go forward.”
NOTES: T David Diehl (hip and hamstring), FB Madison Hedgecock
(hamstring), C Shaun O’Hara (foot), and KR Darius Reynaud
(hamstring) were ruled out for Sunday along with Smith. T Will
Beatty (foot) is questionable. DE Osi Umenyiora (knee), RB Brandon
Jacobs (illness), and LB Gerris Wilkinson (hand) are probable. …
Coughlin said he’ll wait until gametime to decide whether veteran
Kevin Boothe or rookie Mitch Petrus will start at the left guard
spot left vacant in the offensive line shuffle to compensate for
O’Hara’s and Diehl’s injuries. All signs point to Boothe,