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In news that should surprise literally no one, Giants defensive end Osi Umenyiora underwent knee surgery on Friday. His right knee has been bothering him for ages, and there were rumors during his protracted holdout that the Giants were concerned his knee would not hold up much longer.
In a testament to how bad this offseason has been for the G-Men, Osi’s knee finally hit the breaking point mere days after he suited up and began practicing. So now what?
First, Osi should understand that this will preclude a trade and possibly a contract extension, unless there is some seriously detailed language about knee injuries included. No one will be willing to give up much more than a 4th or 5th rounder for a balky finesse rusher during the season, and the Giants will not trade Osi for 75 cents on the dollar. He had better get his mind right and focus on getting healthy and contributing later this season, or Osi could find himself sitting on the bench the same way he was in 2009.
Speaking of later this season, the prognosis from the team is hopeful – coach Tom Coughlin said he would not rule out Umenyiora for the opener against the Redskins on September 11. Of course, 3-4 weeks can spiral into 4-6 weeks pretty quickly for a near 30-year-old with a history of lower body injuries. Even if Umenyiora rehabs like a madman, there’s no chance he will be 100 percent healthy by Week 1, less of a chance he will be able to practice more than a few times during the week, and it is almost certain he will not be contributing on the field like he did last season until he gets an extended break during the bye week.
So what does this mean for the Giants rush attack? Well, maybe not much. Umenyiora is a terrific player, a shade under elite, but he happens to play across the D-line from one of the premiere defensive players in the game – Justin Tuck. Meanwhile, young buck Jason Pierre-Paul had two sacks in one quarter of action last weekend against the Panthers. He is a physical freak in Vernon Gholston mold, expect he’s, uh, good at football. He was going to push Osi for playing time this year anyway, and given a chance to start week one there is little doubt he will see a big jump in snaps this season, barring injury.
Whomever the Redskins trot out Week 1, be it Rex Grossman or John Beck or Jeff George or Daniel Snyder wrapped in bubble wrap, he will be running around FedEx Field for dear life. If Osi is wearing street clothes that day, maybe the sight of Tuck, Pierre-Paul, Marvin Austin and Linval Joseph bashing the Skins in the Maryland swamp will make him hit the exercise bike even harder.
Of course, if the exhumed corpse of Sammy Baugh burns the Giants for 4 TDs, Osi may sit back and wait for a fresh new contract. Let’s hope Snyder isn’t Frankenstein-evil yet.