Gameday photo timeline from the Giants Week 9 matchup against the Bucs
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. –
The first-place Giants must play the remainder of their season without one of the linchpins on their defensive line.
Tackle Johnathan Hankins, a productive and complete player, tore a pectoral muscle in the Giants' victory yesterday at Tampa Bay and must undergo surgery.
"He'll be placed on I.R. (injured reserve), and hopefully he will rehab as fast as possible," coach Tom Coughlin said today. "I don't have a calendar date in terms of how long it will take him to get back, but he does have time."
Hankins was hurt while creating a turnover on the first play of the second quarter of the Giants' 32-18 victory. Buccaneers running back Doug Martin gained two yards on a run up the middle before Hankins forced a fumble that was recovered by linebacker Jasper Brinkley. The takeaway led to Eli Manning's touchdown pass to Shane Vereen, and a 17-6 Giants lead.
But Hankins remained on the ground after the play. Following an on-field examination by the team's medical staff, Hankins was helped to the sideline, and soon taken to the locker room. He wore a sling on his arm after the game, and an MRI today revealed the extent of the injury.
Hankins has been one of the Giants' most consistent defensive players. The third-year pro (he was a second-round draft choice in 2013) yesterday made his 25th consecutive start, which is the second-longest streak on the team to Eli Manning's 176. He entered the game leading the team's defensive linemen with 29 tackles (20 solo), plus two quarterback hits.
In 2014, Hankins joined end Jason Pierre-Paul and safety Antrel Rolle as the only Giants defensive players to start all 16 games. He finished sixth on the team with 51 tackles (30 solo), 7.0 sacks and a forced fumble. Hankins' 51 tackles was the second-highest total among all NFL 4-3 defensive tackles, trailing only Ndamukong Suh. His 7.0 sacks were second on the team, and the highest total by a Giants defensive tackle since Keith Hamilton had a team-high 10.0 in 2000.
"John has been a guy that's anchored in the middle of that defensive line," Coughlin said. "We'll definitely miss his presence. He knocked the ball out yesterday, he's the one that forced the first fumble recovered by Brinkley. He'll be missed, there's no doubt. He's a strong, strong player inside, and he can be a factor against the pass as well as the run. We will definitely miss him."
While Hankins has started every game at right tackle, Markus Kuhn, Cullen Jenkins and Jay Bromley have all started games on the left side. They will all pick up snaps in Hankins' absence. The Giants have a defensive tackle, Montori Hughes, on their practice squad. Another tackle, Louis Nix III, was waived on Saturday.
• The Giants must decide by Thursday whether to activate tackle Will Beatty, another player who tore his pec. Beatty was hurt while lifting weights in May. He is on the physically unable to perform list (PUP). Beatty has been on the practice field, but Thursday ends the three-week period at the end of which the Giants must activate Beatty or keep on him on PUP, which would end his season.
Coughlin would not provide a hint about the Giants' thinking.
"The date is later in the week, and we'll make a decision at that point in time," Coughlin said. "It doesn't have anything to do with what to do with him (if he's activated). We know what to do with him. It'll be whether or not he moves onto the roster."
• Coughlin praised Brinkley, who had a team-high seven tackles (five solo), a forced fumble and a fumble recovery in his first start of the season at middle linebacker.
"I thought he played well," Coughlin said. "I thought he benefitted from having his play time extended a week ago, and he is a force in the middle. He's a guy that has size, and he is able to recognize things and he is physical."
• Brinkley started after Jon Beason was placed on injured reserve Saturday with knee and ankle injuries, and Uani 'Unga was inactive yesterday for the second time in three games with a neck injury.
Coughlin today spoke publicly for the first time about the decision to put Beason down for the season.
"Jon has been an outstanding leader here," Coughlin said. "He is a man of principle. He is a guy who loves to play, loves to compete. But the inability to really put the injuries to rest, and be able to have some kind of an idea when, in fact, he could play and could be able to stay out there, there just wasn't any answers to those kinds of things. So unfortunately, the roster starts to churn and you need to be able to get some people in a position to help you play and win, and so that decision was made."