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David Diehl cleared to play Sunday


EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. –** Tom Coughlin responded with his standard "we'll see" when asked the makeup of the Giants' offensive line this week, but David Diehl is so excited about playing he revealed a secret.

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The 11-year veteran said his first action this season will be as the starting right guard when the Giants host the Philadelphia Eagles Sunday in MetLife Stadium. Diehl missed the season's first four games while rehabilitating his thumb, which was surgically repaired on Aug. 21.

The Giants lost all four games and have averaged only 15.3 points a game.

"Me coming back, I'm not a miracle worker," Diehl said. "Everything's not going to be perfect, everything's not going to be fixed. I just know that I'm going to bring my leadership, I'm going to bring energy, I'm going to fight each and every play, I'm going to do whatever I can to bring the best out of my teammates, just like they do for me."

James Brewer started at right guard last week in Kansas City. The rest of the line included tackles Will Beatty and rookie Justin Pugh, left guard Kevin Boothe and center Jim Cordle. Coughlin wouldn't say if changes would be made for the game against the Eagles.

From the beginning of the 2004 season until Sept. 22 at Carolina, Chris Snee was the starting right guard in 152 of the Giants' 158 regular-season and postseason games. But Snee suffered a hip injury in that game and hasn't practiced since.

The longest-tenured Giant, Diehl has played every offensive line position but center. He has played in 153 regular-season games (149 starts), plus 11 postseason games, the highest total among active Giants. But Diehl hasn't played right guard since his rookie season in 2003, when he started all 16 games there. Officially, his last appearance at right guard was Dec. 28, 2003 vs. Carolina. He moved over to right tackle when Snee arrived the following season.

Diehl returned to practice last week. He was in uniform in Kansas City but did not play, a career first. This week, his workload has increased and his fitness has improved.

"Diehl is coming along well," Coughlin said.

Before his surgery, Diehl started the first two preseason games at right tackle, where he played last season. Now he's back at guard, happy to return to the field and help the team.

"It's like riding a bike," Diehl said. "This isn't the first time this has ever happened, so I'm excited. I'm excited about the opportunity. Justin (Pugh) and I have been working very hard together the last week, it's not like I haven't been working with him, talking through things, trying to help coach him. Since he first got here, we've worked extremely hard watching film, working together, hammering out all the details of everything going into this game. Both of us are excited. As a group, as an offense, as a team – we're fired up. If you're not excited about this game, to play the Eagles, division rival, one of those games that you know is going to be a four-quarter fist fight…we're pumped up and ready to go."


The Giants totaled just seven points in the last two games, but offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride has faith his unit can break out this week

"I think if we give the quarterback (Eli Manning) time, I think very confidently he'll throw the ball well and give our guys a chance," Gilbride said. "I think we are getting better in the running game. The last two weeks, as bad as it's been, it's been improving and it's something we're looking for to see continued development with. I think we're headed in the right direction.  Unfortunately it's been painfully slow."  * Hakeem Nicks missed at least three passes that he would normally catch last week vs. the Chiefs, including a couple that went right through his hands.

"That's really rare," Coughlin said. "He usually gobbles those balls up."

So did the coach discuss the situation with his star receiver?

"There are always discussions," Coughlin said. "He's a very confident young man who recognizes right away whatever it is you're trying to point out to him and tries to do something about it. There were certainly discussions after the game. He took full responsibility for whatever involved him and hopefully he's made the adjustments and so on and so forth, learning from one game into the next."

>> LATEST GIANTS-EAGLES INJURY REPORT * Coughlin was asked if fullback John Conner, signed last week, has progressed to the point where he could get some snaps this week.

"I think probably he has," Coughlin said. * The Giants' injury list remains 15 players deep.

Corey Webster (groin) joined fellow cornerbacks Aaron Ross (back) and Jayron Hosley (hamstring) among the eight players who did not practice. Also sitting out were defensive tackles Linval Joseph (ankle/knee) and Cullen Jenkins (knee/Achilles), tight end Adrien Robinson (foot), center David Baas (neck) and Snee (hip).

Asked if he thought he could play Sunday, Jenkins said, "I don't know, we'll see. Tomorrow will be a big day to get out there, try to add to the workload a little bit to see where it's at."

The only healthy cornerbacks are Prince Amukamara, Trumaine McBride, Terrell Thomas, who has played exclusively in the slot. Would Coughlin move him out to corner?

"Let's see who we have tomorrow," Coughlin said. "Let's see who can practice and who can't. We've worked in two or three different versions, so I think we'll be okay." * Three players who did not work on Wednesday returned to practice on a limited basis: linebacker Mark Herzlich (toe), defensive tackle Shaun Rogers (back) and Thomas (knee). In addition to Diehl, defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul (knee), linebacker Jacquian Williams (knee) and safety Cooper Taylor (shoulder) practiced fully. * Philadelphia continues to have only two players on its injury report. Cornerback Brandon Boykin (shoulder) practiced fully and safety Patrick Chung (shoulder) was limited. **Know Your Opponent: Eagles Roster Breakdown >>**

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