ALBANY, N.Y. – In the spring, Chris Canty was optimistic his surgically-repaired knee would be ready for the start of training camp. Now the Giants' sturdy defensive tackle is uncertain exactly when he will return to the field.
"I definitely wouldn't want to miss that one," Canty said today of the season opener against Dallas on Sept. 5. "I don't know if we're going to be setting any dates or anything like that. Obviously, you've heard the medical staff, you've heard coach (Tom Coughlin), he says it's going to be a while – we take our cues from him."
Canty was placed on the physically unable to perform list on Friday. When asked about Canty at his opening news conference, Coughlin said, "It's going to take a little while."
Canty wasn't about to dispute that today.
"Coach says it's going to be a while, it's going to be a while," Canty said. "He's the man. Coach says it's going to be a while, it's going to be a while. The competitive nature of a player is to want to go out there and compete. So they have to protect us from ourselves sometimes."
While his teammates practice, Canty is doing everything he can to join them as quickly as possible.
"(I want to) make sure I'm in great condition, make sure my body is feeling great, make sure everything is ready to go," he said."I did some running yesterday. I did some lifting yesterday and today. So that's what we'll do."
Canty started all 20 regular season and postseason games at right defensive tackle for the Giants in 2011 and was an anchor in the middle of the defense. In his absence, Rocky Bernard has lined up with the first team next to Linval Joseph. Veteran Shaun Rogers, Marvin Austin (last year's second-round draft choice who did not play a down because of a pectoral injury) and seventh-round rookie Markus Kuhn are among those also vying for jobs at defensive tackle.
Entering his eighth NFL season, and fourth with the Giants, Canty is supportive of his fellow defensive linemen. But he'd prefer to be there for them in uniform.
"It's tough anytime you can't go out there and be out there with your teammates," he said. "I'm here, but at the same time it's kind of like I'm not able to go out on the field and work with the guys, kind of establish that rapport and let that relationship of working together get a chance to gel with the guys and that kind of thing. I'm disappointed I'm not going to have that opportunity right now in camp. This is the first time I haven't started a camp on time in my pro career. It's disappointing."