EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) Facing the New York Jets with a healthy offensive line is tough for any team.
The banged-up Giants (5-6) face a major task Sunday going into the game against their local rivals with questions at four positions.
Right guard Geoff Schwartz was lost for the season this past weekend with a broken left leg. Center Weston Richburg is still gimpy with a high left ankle sprain.
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Left guard Justin Pugh just returned to practice on Wednesday after missing the past two games with a concussion. The new wrinkle on Wednesday was at right tackle. Marshall Newhouse missed practice with a back issue.
Rookie left tackle Ereck Flowers seems to be the one sure thing for the Giants.
Pugh and Richburg practiced on a limited basis Wednesday. John Jerry was at right guard and rookie Bobby Hart, who had his first significant action this season against the Redskins, filled in at right tackle.
Who will be out there on Sunday against the NFL's top run defense remains to be seen.
''Hopefully, we get some guys back,'' quarterback Eli Manning said Wednesday. ''We had a couple of them practice today. But I have great confidence in those guys and for me, my focus is going to be down the field, reading coverages, trying to get the ball to receivers.
''Hopefully, we can run the ball well, get in good down and distance. Whoever is out there, I've got confidence and faith they'll do their job and give us an opportunity to make the plays.''
Richburg still seemed a little gimpy which means Dallas Reynolds might make his second straight start.
''It's a physical position, injuries happen,'' Richburg said. ''Our guys have done a great job coming in. Dallas came in for me last week and did a great job. He battled. That's what an offensive line is. Everybody has each other's back. If the line needs to be shuffled, it needs to be shuffled. Guys understand that.''
The best guess for Sunday's starters left to right would be Flowers, Pugh, Reynolds, John Jerry and Newhouse. Jerry started last week at right guard with Pugh out and Schwartz moved to left guard. Hart replaced Schwartz after he was injured and played right guard with Jerry moving to the left side.
They will face an outstanding 3-4 defense that features Muhammad Wilkerson, Leonard Williams, Sheldon Leonard and Damon Harrison rotating on the front with linebackers David Harris and Demario Davis cleaning things up.
''It's another week in the NFL to me,'' Jerry said. ''It really doesn't matter where a team is ranked, 32nd or first, every team has great defensive linemen and linebackers and it won't be any different this week.''
The line has to pick things up. Manning was sacked three times against the Redskins and hit eight times in a game where the Giants abandoned the run after falling behind 20-0. Manning threw 51 times and New York ran the ball 13 times for 33 yards.
Richburg said there is no doubt the Giants want to run the ball better. They are 28th in the league, averaging 89.4 yards and they have not had an individual runner gain 100 yards in a game this season.
''We take pride in being able to run the ball and we have not been able to do that,'' Richburg said. ''That's why we are out here working on it, trying to get it right.''
NOTES: Manning is the Giants' nominee for the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award, which recognizes a player who displays excellence on the football field and in the community. He was the team's nominee in 2007, 2008, 2011 and 2012. No Giant has won the award. … While he continues to say his neck is fine, TE Larry Donnell is not practicing and won't until he gets medical clearance. He said his next MRI is ''in a couple of weeks.'' … Also not practicing were Newhouse and S Brandon Meriweather (knee). He watched practice. … DE Jason Pierre-Paul was listed on the injury report with a sore right hand – the one he injured in a fireworks accident. He practiced.
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