EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. –** That Prince Amukamara can easily brush his teeth gives him hope he will not miss too many games this season.
Let us explain.
Amukamara, the right cornerback who has been playing at a high level for the Giants this season, suffered a partially torn left pectoral muscle in the second half of the Giants' 30-27 defeat of San Francisco on Sunday. Coach Tom Coughlin said today Amukamara should to be sidelined two-to-four weeks.
Since Amukamara is a lefty, the injury can be a hindrance and a nuisance. But because it's on his strong side, Amukamara can get a more accurate gauge of his progress.
"I feel better than I did on Sunday," Amukamara said this afternoon. "I drive with my left hand, and after the game it was kind of tough driving. But since it's been mobile, it's starting to get easier. I'm able to brush my teeth. Usually that brushing motion kind of affects it a little bit. Anytime I'm able to do my daily routine with no discomfort, that's promising.
"I'm very encouraged because I'm more mobile, I can move it, I can move it around. I can still brush my teeth and I can still do stuff with it. That gives me encouragement. When it starts to get to the second and third week and if I'm still at this stage, then I'll probably start panicking a little bit."
Amukamara said he will have an MRI in two weeks to measure his improvement.
"But leading up to the MRI, I'll know if I'm getting my strength back," he said. "If I could do a pushup, that would be a good sign. If I could start pushing a little bit of weight, that would be a good sign. So leading up there, I would know if I'm improving or not."
Amukamara said he suffered the injury early in the third quarter, when he tackled 49ers fullback Bruce Miller after a four-yard gain on a pass from Colin Kaepernick.
"I just felt something weird," Amukamara said. "I stayed in on that drive, and then when I realized, 'Okay, I'm having a hard time running' - I never want to be a liability out there, so I had the trainers come check it out. They said, 'Okay, the tendon is still attached.' I said, 'Okay, good. If I can still go, then you're not going to stop me. I'm going to go.' So then I ran out, and of course that's when Anquan (Boldin) scored on (a three-yard reception). Just finished the whole game with it."
Amukamara said he returned to the game because he was cleared to do so and he could help the team.
"We were pressing a lot that game, so since I was able to still press," he said, "I felt like I could still go out there and get the job done. But the fact that it did hurt me to run a little bit, I just figured one half, I could push through this.
"I don't think I injured it more. I still don't think it's as serious. I think serious would be me being on IR or serious would be the tendon fully coming off the bone, like my bicep (last year). So that wasn't the case, it's still attached. It gives me a chance to rehab it and we'll do another MRI in a couple weeks to see if progress has been made and we'll go from there."
Amukamara has been one of the Giants' best defensive players this season. He is second on the team with 32 tackles (26 solo), his seven passes defensed are three more than any teammate has, and he has an interception, forced fumble and fumble recovery (the latter two on the same play in Buffalo).
"It's most unfortunate," coach Tom Coughlin said of Amukamara's injury. "He's made a lot of plays this fall. But we'll continue on and we will get him back."
Jayron Hosley will replace Amukamara as the starting right cornerback when the 3-2 Giants visit the 2-3 Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday night.
Amukamara has played a full 16-game schedule just once in his five-year career, in 2013. Last year, he suffered a torn right bicep on Nov. 3 and missed the remainder of the season. Amukamara was asked if he'll ever enjoy an injury-free season.
"That question has definitely come into my head," he said. "I try different things. I tried switching my eating habits, my workout habits. So I'm still just going to continue to just try to figure it out."
Instead of dwelling on his injury history, Amukamara will focus on rehabbing his torn pec while hoping his latest setback is a short one.
"This was a huge week with the Eagles, and especially with how it ended (dramatically) last week." Amukamara said. "It would have been a good game to play in only because we have so much momentum right now. It would have been great. That's the most disappointing."
At least he can brush his teeth.
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