Chris Canty's summer-long hope that he would play in the Giants' season opener on September 5 ended today when the team placed the veteran defensive tackle on the reserve/physically unable to perform list. The transaction guarantees that Canty will miss at least the first six weeks of the season.
"I'm not going to say that I saw it coming," Canty said. "Obviously, I was optimistic about it. I feel good. I feel in pretty good shape considering all the factors. I stand by the position my knee is better than it was in November, December, January of last season, but ultimately this was a decision that was made in the best interest of the football team.
"I feel like I'm close, obviously, saying that my knee is in better physical condition. Not just the way it feels, but anatomically it's better than what it was. But at the end of the day, the coaches and medical staff feel it's in the best interest of the team for me to be on PUP right now. So that's what we're doing."
Coach Tom Coughlin suggested the decision to place Canty on the list was not unexpected.
"The only thing I can tell you is that we sort of expected that to be the case," Coughlin said. "We dealt with the thought of how fast he ought to come back, and it's better for the player and team as well that he has this extra time."
Asked if he had any doubt that Canty can play this season, Coughlin said, "I don't. No, I don't, but I tend to be that way.
"His prognosis really just has been ongoing. The doctors have been positive all along. I don't expect anything different from them."
Canty was not as bold when asked to make the same prediction.
"I don't have a crystal ball," Canty said. "If you would have asked me would I start the season on PUP, I'd say there's no chance, but here I am. It is what it is."
Canty started all 20 regular season and postseason games in 2011. But he played much of that time on a sore knee that was surgically-repaired soon after the Giants won the Super Bowl.
"Obviously, this was something that needed to be addressed," Canty said. "I would not have been able to further my career had I not addressed it when we took care of it, but it's something that I played with the better half of the end of the season. I probably played a third of the season last year, including the postseason, with this particular ailment. It's tough to officially know that I'm not going to be starting the 2012 season. I'm not going to be able to go out there and participate and play the game that I love and play with my teammates. It's tough."
Rocky Bernard, who was the top defensive tackle reserve in 2011, will start for Canty next to Linval Joseph. Shaun Rogers (blood clot) and Marvin Austin (back) remain sidelined, so the current backups are Dwayne Hendricks, seventh-round draft choice Markus Kuhn and recently signed Marcus Thomas.
Canty has been impressed by the healthy talent at defensive tackle.
"What I see is that guys are able to compete at a very high level," Canty said. "When you turn on the video and you watch the guys playing, it's like watching the varsity defense versus the J.V. offense. They're dominant. They're playing at a very high level. Coach talks about building the bridge from the 2011 season to the 2012 season and guys have picked up right where they left off and it shows in their play."
Canty looks forward to the day when he can walk across the bridge and re-join his teammates on the field.