Brandon Jacobs today left little doubt that he expects to return to action when the Giants do the same on Oct. 30 against the Miami Dolphins.
"No question about it, no doubt in my mind," Jacobs said.
Not much ambiguity there.
Jacobs, the seventh-year running back, has missed the team's last two games with a knee injury. He did not participate in today's practice, the only workout the 4-2 Giants will have this bye week.
Tom Coughlin is hopeful of having Jacobs back but did not sound as confident as the running back.
"He is doing alright but there are some things that they are trying to get under control," Coughlin said. "He actually feels pretty good but there is still some work to do."
But Jacobs said the swelling has subsided, tests have confirmed there is no significant damage and he feels better. That confluence of developments is why Jacobs is so confident he will return against Miami.
"Everything was good," Jacobs said. "The tests all came back good. It just was a little pain on the MCL, but it probably got hit, dinged, helmet straight to it, but that's about it.
"I got most of the swelling down so now I am just working on flexing and being able to do certain things. I am not worried about it. I will be back when I need to be back."
Jacobs was hurt in the Giants' 31-27 victory at Arizona on Oct. 2. In that game, he scored a touchdown, but rushed for only 18 yards on nine carries. Later that week, his knee was sore and Jacobs had to sit out the game against Seattle. But he didn't expect to be out of uniform two games in a row.
"I was very surprised," Jacobs said. "We got the MRI, the MRI came back negative, so those things always get a little tricky when it's a swelling deal with it. But I think things are good now and we got a bye, couldn't be at a better time, I get this week off, and we'll go from there."
It's unpleasant, but Jacobs is accustomed to missing games. He played a full 16-game schedule just twice in his first six years, as a little-used rookie in 2005, when he backed up Tiki Barber, and last year, when he played behind Ahmad Bradshaw most of the season and finished with 147 carries, the first time he had less than 200 rushing attempts since 2006.
"It never gets any easier sitting out a game," said Jacobs, who has rushed for 116 yards and two touchdowns on 38 carries this season. "You see your teammates out there fighting and scratching as hard as they can fight and scratch for 60 minutes and you want to be out there helping. That's the only thing you think about. You got your teammates there and you want to be there for them, and it stinks when you can't and you're hurting."
Although Jacobs watched from the sideline, the Giants' rushing attack came to life Sunday, gaining a season-high 122 yards. Bradshaw rushed for three one-yard touchdowns.
"I think the Buffalo Bills have a very good defensive front," Jacobs said. "(They have a) very good defensive team, and they are the reason their record (4-2) is what it is. Turnovers, taking turnovers back to the house. But seeing our linemen coming off the ball and 'AB' running, he was running hard, hitting the gaps and moving the piles. When it gets cold, just as it it'll be here soon, that kind of running, coming off the ball is what we're going to need."
And Jacobs believes he will be there to supply it.
"I'm looking forward to getting back on the football field," he said, "and being able to do as much as I can do."
*Jacobs is one of several injured Giants who could return to help the team following the bye. The list includes Justin Tuck, Chris Snee, Henry Hynoski, Prince Amukamara and Ramses Barden.
Amukamara, the team's first-round draft choice this year, broke his foot on Aug. 6 and has never practiced with the full defense. But he is inching closer to a return.
"He is coming along," Coughlin said. "If he stays on schedule, he will start to do some things once we resume."
Amukamara was an All-America cornerback at Nebraska. The Giants have needed a player at that position since Terrell Thomas suffered a season-ending knee injury in a preseason game on Aug. 22. Amukamara believes he can help the team, but how much he can contribute will remain a mystery until he actually takes the field.
"I'm making progress," Amukamara said. "I'm doing better this week. I feel my endurance is better, I can do a lot more than I did last week. I'm able to cut now, backpedal, get out of my breaks. It's still a little hesitation there, still, but that's what the trainers and I are working on now.
"So the plan for next week is to work in with some individual (drills), and hopefully we'll continue."
*Barden, the third-year receiver, has been on the physically unable to perform list as a result of the serous ankle and foot injuries he suffered last Nov. 14 vs. Dallas and his subsequent surgery. He also has not practiced with the team this year, but is as confident as Jacobs he can play.
"It's ready to go. I can't wait," Barden said. "I was preparing myself to practice today. I'm preparing myself to practice next week. That's how it's going to be. Physically and mentally I'll be prepared to practice until they give me the go-ahead."
Today began a three-week period in which Barden can return to the practice field without counting on the active roster. However, he did not practice. Once he does, the Giants will have up to 21 days before a decision has to be made whether to activate Barden, terminate him or keep him on the reserve/PUP list. Offensive lineman Adam Koets is also on the list.
Barden believes he can play against the Dolphins.
"Mentally, I plan on playing," he said. "I plan on being in the game plan. I plan on contributing in whatever facet the team sees necessary. I can't wait. By the time next week rolls around it'll have been 11½ eleven months (since he played)."
Because he is on the reserve/PUP list, Barden has not been permitted to participate in any on-field team activities. But he has been diligently working with the athletic trainers on the side.
"I try to simulate some of the things we do in practice just by myself," Barden said. "Instead of being with the team, I run a series of routes, or go through a two-minute drill, sometimes the strength and conditioning coach will be my quarterback and he'll just move up and down the field with me, help me focus on routes and getting in shape and working on the details of breaks and cuts all at the same time."
Although he's been out of uniform for almost a year, Barden is confident he can help the Giants when he returns.
"Mentally, there'll be some strides that I think will be noticed," he said. "Obviously, with that kind of time there's going to be rust, physical and mental. But the rust will get knocked off quick, I think, and start to shine through."
*Coughlin's original bye week schedule had the Giants practicing again tomorrow, but he decided to let the players have an extra day off.
"I just feel like we got organized and got a chance to look at the film (of the Buffalo game)," Coughlin said. "We did some film work and we talked about what the plan is, so I think we are good."
*Eli Manning is 22-5 (.815) as a starter in October. According to the NFL, that is the best mark among quarterbacks who began their career in the Super Bowl era (minimum 20 starts).
*After Bradshaw's 104-yard performance on Sunday, the Giants are 35-10 under Coughlin when they have a 100-yard rusher, including 8-0 when Bradshaw is that runner.
*But they're also succeeding this year when the opposition has a triple-digit rusher. They are 3-0 this season when the opposing team has a 100-yard runner, beating Philadelphia (LeSean McCoy), Arizona (Beanie Wells) and Buffalo (Fred Jackson). That goes against the norm this year in the NFL, where teams with a 100-yard rusher are 34-11.
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