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Diehl injury leads to more O-line restructure

Posted Aug 21, 2013

David Diehl underwent surgery and is expected to miss six weeks, as the offensive line restructures

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – The Giants’ offensive line continues to be restructured due to injuries.

One day after moving to left guard from right tackle, David Diehl today underwent surgery to repair his unstable right thumb. The expected timeframe for recovering from the surgery is approximately six weeks.


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“The unfortunate news today is about David Diehl,” coach Tom Coughlin said. “The doctor felt like he really needed to have his thumb corrected so that he could go further. He’s been in a lot of pain. He’s a tough guy and you’d never even know it until the doctor kind of jumped in. He’ll get this fixed and he’ll be back.”

Diehl is the second starting offensive lineman forced off the field in the last four days. Center David Baas sprained his left medial collateral ligament in a preseason game Sunday night vs. Indianapolis. The Giants have listed Baas as week-to-week, though he said yesterday his goal is to play in the regular-season opener on Sept. 8 in Dallas.

With Baas sidelined, Kevin Boothe moved from left guard to center, Diehl went inside to guard and first-round draft choice Justin Pugh took over at right tackle. With Diehl forced out of the lineup, Boothe moved back to guard and third-year pro Jim Cordle stepped in at center. Cordle substituted for Baas in the game against the Colts.

“Cordle played very well the other night and we thought that was the best move for now and we do have that option,” Coughlin said. “But for now the option that we took is this one. We’re really excited about the way Cordle played the other night. Hopefully, he’ll keep that going.”

“We’re comfortable if he’s in there,” 10-year guard Chris Snee said. “Jim’s played football, he’s been around here a long time. He knows what he’s doing. He knows the offense very well. Technically, he’s very good with his hands and he competes. He’s a tough guy. He makes all the calls, he’s physical. He moves his feet well. I thought he played very well."

It’s been an interesting few days for Cordle. After playing extensively on Sunday night, he was presumed by many to be Baas’ replacement. But when practice began yesterday, he was with the second team. In the offensive line meeting this morning, he learned Diehl faced surgery and he was the starter.

“I didn’t know what was going to happen,” Cordle said. “They wanted to give Pugh a shot there at tackle so Diehl moved inside. That’s fine, obviously he won a shot, you understand they’re trying to find the best line. Then back today, I came in and Diehl’s out and I’m back in there at center. I’ve been preparing for it like I’m going to be the starter and now I am.”

Cordle’s first big test will be Saturday night, when the Giants host the Jets in the teams’ annual preseason game. Former Giants center Shaun O’Hara, now with the NFL Network, was at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center today and gave Cordle some tips.

“The Jets really challenge the center with their defensive front,” Cordle said. “They use what we call a triple look, where they cover the center, the guards, tackles, so everybody’s covered so you can get an individual rush, which is hard enough, and then they’ll mix it up with three-man games twist, all those kinds of things like that. They definitely challenge you and he was giving me some pointers.”

For the versatile Boothe, it was another day at the office. He was the left guard one day, the center the next and back at guard today.

“It’s something that we always prepare for, regardless of the situations because you never know what can happen over the course of the season,” Boothe said. “It’s good to work a bunch of different positions and a bunch of different combinations because, as you can see, things can happen on the fly. We’ll be fine, we’ll work together and guys will be ready to play.”

But now Boothe doesn’t get to touch the ball on every play.

“It was fun while it lasted, but you never know,” Boothe said. “You never know what can happen, so I’ll stay prepared.”

No matter who’s playing the line, it’s strange when Diehl is not there. An 11-year veteran, he is the longest-tenured Giants player. Since being selected on the fifth round of the 2003 draft, Diehl has missed only seven games. He started the first 120 regular-season games and seven postseason games in his career, the longest such streak by a Giant since the introduction of the 16-game schedule in 1978. The streak ended on Nov. 14, 2010 vs. Dallas because of hip and hamstring injuries Diehl suffered the previous week in Seattle.

Diehl missed four games that season and three more in 2012 after suffering a knee injury vs. Tampa Bay on Sept. 16, an injury that lingered throughout the season. Diehl entered the game as a reserve in four of the 13 games in which he played, the first times in his career he didn’t start.

With Pugh and Cordle replacing Diehl and Baas, the Giants are playing with a much less experienced line.

“It’s time to go figure it out, that’s for sure,” Coughlin said. “We have two games to play and hopefully they can have a lot of things occur on the field that we can take care of.”

>> QUICK HITS

  • Cornerback Jayron Hosley and linebacker Spencer Paysinger had interceptions, as did defensive tackle Linval Joseph, who reached low to grab a ball that had been batted down by Justin Tuck.

  • Curtis Painter, who will be the No. 2 quarterback on Saturday, threw a perfect pass deep down the middle of the field to Kevin Hardy...Marcus Harris, signed last week, jumped over Trumaine McBride to make the catch of the day.

  • Running back Da’Rel Scott (shoulder) returned to practice.

  • The following players did not practice: Defensive backs Antrel Rolle (ankle) and Corey Webster (knee/groin), wide receivers Victor Cruz (heel), Ramses Barden (knee) and Louis Murphy (leg), Baas (knee) and defensive end Damontre Moore (shoulder).

  • It doesn’t mean much logistically, because they’re staying put, but training camp ended today. Practices are no longer open to the public.

  • Camp attendance: 1,865 yesterday and 1,115 today. The 14-day camp total was 26,350 fans.