S Kenny Phillips back in Giants starting lineup

BY foxsports • September 8, 2010

After missing most of last season, safety Kenny Phillips is back in the New York Giants' starting lineup.

Phillips, who underwent microfracture surgery on his left knee last September, worked with the Giants' first team Wednesday in preparation for the season opener against the Carolina Panthers on Sunday.

''This has been a long, long, long, long offseason for me,'' Phillips said. ''It's like I had two because of the surgery. I missed it. I really did. They say you don't know how much you missed it until it's gone. Not to be out there was an eye opener. I am going to go out there and have fun, and not take it for granted.''

Phillips practiced for the first time since the surgery Aug. 9. He has made great strides in recent weeks after being only allowed to take baby steps in the early part of training camp.

''For them to have me already penciled as a starter, I must be doing something right,'' Phillips said. ''So I have to go out there and continue getting reps and just work on my technique.''

The 23-year-old Phillips always had returning to the starting lineup as his main goal, but was frustrated at times when the coaching staff limited his work load.

He sat out the first preseason game, got 12 snaps in the second, 20-something in the third and slightly more in the preseason finale against New England.

''I felt like I had 80 today, so we are getting ready for it,'' Phillips said.

His recovery also means that veteran Deon Grant, who was signed as a free agent in the offseason, has lost his starting job.

Grant was surprised and disappointed.

''When they came and told Kenny to go with the first group, I was definitely surprised because I know inside my mind, and they know it, I'm not a backup safety,'' Grant said. ''That might be the position I might have to play if that's the case, but I'm not no backup safety. But I am going to support Kenny because Kenny is like a little brother to me, and he has skills.''

Still, Grant isn't happy.

''Like I told the rest of the guys, I am not going to sit up here like it's peaches and cream,'' he said. ''It might take me a minute to adjust to that.''

There is a chance the Giants may decide to rotate Phillips and Grant.

''They pay me to come here and be a leader and show what I have to show on that football field, in that meeting room and off the field and that's what I indeed did,'' Grant said.

Phillips said Grant helped him out at practice Wednesday.

''We're still the best of friends,'' Phillips said.