Report: Giants' Umenyiora likely out for season with ligament damage
ESPN.com news services
Updated: August 24, 2008, 2:40 PM ET
The defending Super Bowl champion Giants reportedly will likely have to play this season without one of their best pash rushers.
The Star-Ledger, citing an unnamed source, reported Sunday that Osi Umenyiora suffered serious ligament damage in his left knee Saturday night that will likely sideline him for the rest of the season. The Pro Bowl star defensive end will have surgery, the newspaper reported, rather than try to rehabilitate the injury.
X-rays taken during the Jets' 10-7 win were negative. An MRI took place on Sunday.
"I talked to him when he was in the locker room, in the training room," fellow defensive end Justin Tuck said Saturday of a halftime exchange. "Obviously, he was down. It's unfortunate when any injury occurs, but hopefully, it is nothing serious and he will not miss any time."
Umenyiora left the locker room before the game ended and was not available for comment.
Umenyiora told Tuck that "he was good," Tuck said.
The two-time Pro Bowler was hurt with 10:48 left in the half on a third-down incomplete pass by the Jets' Brett Favre.
Defensive tackle Barry Cofield did not get a chance to talk to Umenyiora but he recalled the play.
"It looked like he was turning the corner and just kind of took an awkward step," Cofield said Saturday. "The turf is hard and playing at that speed on that edge, you can tweak things."
The 26-year-old could not put any weight on his leg. He was helped off the field with his arms wrapped around the shoulders of two trainers.
Giants coach Tom Coughlin said Saturday that Umenyiora was in pain.
"The doctors told me there was no ligament damage," Coughlin said when pressed.
Umenyiora started all 16 games last season and had 52 tackles and a team-high 13 sacks. He added seven tackles in the Giants' run to the Super Bowl.
The Giants are a bit thin at defensive end this season with the retirement of seven-time Pro Bowler Michael Strahan. Tuck has replaced Strahan. New York also signed veteran Renaldo Wynn in the offseason.
With Umenyiora sidelined, the Giants could move strongside linebacker Mathias Kiwanuka back to defensive end. He was switched to linebacker last year so the team could put its best 11 players on the field.
"You are always concerned any time a player like that goes down," Kiwanuka said Saturday. "That's not good. We know the type of player he is and if he can come back he will. But we have the personal to step up in his absence."
Kiwanuka sidestepped moving back to defensive end, saying that decision is up to the team.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.