Giants receiver Steve Smith out for rest of season
Eli Manning is not going to have go-to Pro Bowl receiver Steve
Smith for rest of the season, and maybe longer.
Smith injured the articular cartilage in his left knee in the
win over the Minnesota Vikings on Monday and will need
season-ending knee surgery.
An orthopedic surgeon told The Associated Press the surgery
requires a very long rehabilitation process, but it is possible
Smith might be ready for training camp.
Smith, who set a team record with 107 catches last season, was
hurt on the opening play of the fourth quarter when he was tackled
from behind on a 12-yard reception, his 48th of the season. The
game was his first since partially tearing a pectoral muscle in
practice on Nov. 11.
”I feel bad for Steve,” coach Tom Coughlin said. ”He fights
his way back, he gets back on the field, he gets a little bit
acclimated to game conditions again, and then is injured.”
Smith is the fifth Giants’ receiver to be knocked out since
minicamp, and the third since the season started, joining Ramses
Barden and Victor Cruz.
The bottom line is the Giants (9-4) will now face the
Philadelphia Eagles (9-4) on Sunday in the showdown for first place
in the NFC East with Hakeem Nicks and Mario Manningham being
Manning’s prime targets, and Derek Hagan, Michael Clayton and Devin
Thomas filling in when the team uses three- or four-receiver
Nicks returned to the lineup on Monday after missing three games
with a lower leg injury and said he was sore on Wednesday.
Manningham had to leave the game with a hip injury. While Manning
called Smith’s injury unfortunate, he said the other receivers have
to step up.
”We have Hakeem back and Mario, those guys are playing well,”
Manning said. ”Hagan has been here for a month and is playing well
and Michael Clayton. We have numbers now, where we can put guys in
different positions and they can go out there and play well.”
The burden will fall on Nicks, who had seven catches for 96
yards against the Vikings. His nine touchdown receptions lead the
”I don’t feel like it puts more pressure on me,” he said. ”I
just have to rise up to the occasion. Mario Manningham will step
up, Derek Hagan will step up. I’m just going to continue to hold it
down on my part.”
Manningham guaranteed that he would be ready for Sunday, despite
missing the second half vs. the Vikings. He did not practice
”I’ll be all right,” he said. ”Trust me. I’ll be good to
Hagan, who has caught 13 passes since re-signing with the Giants
four games ago, said it’s all hands on deck for the injury-ravaged
wide receiver corps.
”It’s almost like every year there is one position which is
always hurt on any team,” said Hagan, who was cut at the end of
training camp. ”It was the DBs last year. It’s unfortunate, but
injuries happen in this game and you have to have guys who can come
in and play right away. Obviously, the team brought me back for a
reason, to help this team win and I got to do what I got to do to
get this victory.”
Dr. Russell Warren examined Smith at the Hospital for Special
Surgery on Tuesday and diagnosed the injury to the fourth-year
player’s articular cartilage. No date has been set for the
Dr. Michael Kelly, the chairman of department of orthopedic
surgery at Hackensack University Medical Center, said the recovery
period from surgery involving articular cartilage can be lengthy
because the cartilage has no ability to regenerate itself. Kelly
said the articulate cartilage helps cushion the bone.
”If articular cartilage surgery is performed, depending on the
surgical procedure itself, the recovery involves limited weight
bearing, so an extensive period on crutches, and then limited
impact activity, such as running for many months,” Kelly said in a
telephone interview with The AP. ”It depends on what they do, the
size and location. It all influences the recovery significantly. No
matter how you do it, it takes a while.”
Kelly said Smith has a chance to be ready for training camp.
NOTES: Starting right guard Chris Snee did not practice because
of a hip injury. Center Shaun O’Hara (foot), tackle Shawn Andrews
(back) and defensive end Osi Umenyiora (knee) practiced on a