The New York Giants will play a critical game Sunday afternoon against the Atlanta Falcons without their leading rusher.
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Giants coach Tom Coughlin confirmed that Ahmad Bradshaw will not play Sunday due to lingering knee and foot problems.
”It would have been a reach for him to be ready,” Coughlin said of Bradshaw, who was spotted with his knee heavily wrapped and not participating in any football activities. ”I’m sure he’s disappointed right now. With someone like that and his constitution, he thinks that come game day he’ll be fine and be able to play. But medically, it was the only wise move to keep him out.”
Bradshaw, who has 869 yards and five touchdowns on the ground this season, has played through injury before. But the sprained knee the six-year veteran suffered Sunday in the 52-27 win over New Orleans did not recover in time for him to practice this week.
With the team already missing their second-leading rusher Andre Brown (out for the season with a broken fibula), the Giants will now turn to rookie David Wilson, who had a spectacular game against the Saints, as well as recent free agent signees Ryan Torain and Kregg Lumpkin, either of whom have yet to carry the ball this season for the Giants.
Coughlin was asked if Wilson, who rushed for 100 yards and had two touchdowns in the win over the Saints, could handle the majority of the carries in Bradshaw’s absence and be a 20-carry back.
”I think he could be,” Coughlin said of the first-round draft pick out of Virginia Tech. ”There’s no reason why he couldn’t be. Whether he will be or not is a different thing. We have a couple other guys who are going to help us in different ways, but I don’t think there’s any reason why he couldn’t be (a 20-carry back).”
Wilson, who broke the team’s single game record of all-purpose yardage with 327 Sunday and became the first player in the history of the NFL to get 200 yards in returns and 100 yards rushing, seems up for the challenge to become the team’s No. 1 back.
”Maybe there’s a little more anticipation and a little more excitement now,” Wilson said, after being informed of Bradshaw’s status. ”I think we all had a great week in practice and we’re showing the coaches that we can get the job done. They shouldn’t worry if I have to pull it together on Sunday.”
Both Torain, who rushed for 754 yards and four touchdowns with the Washington Redskins in 2010, and Lumpkin, who rushed for 105 yards in limited duty with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last season, were also ready for their chance to contribute. They were both signed Nov. 27 as free agents and have been learning the Giants’ offense together since.
”They’ve worked very hard at it since they’ve been here,” Coughlin said. ”They have been in the classroom since they got here to catch up and they’ve done a pretty good job at it. They’ve been on other teams, so they know what to expect. Hopefully, if we can categorize how we use them, and their knowledge in that area is sufficient, they’ll do fine.”
The Giants also said that cornerback Prince Amukamara (hamstring) and safeties Kenny Phillips (knee) and Tyler Sash (hamstring) will also miss Sunday’s game against the Falcons.
Linebacker Michael Boley (back) is listed as questionable, but both Coughlin and Boley believe that he will be able to play against his former team.