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Nick Gates activated following remarkable comeback; 3 more return from injuries


EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Nick Gates took another significant step in his remarkable comeback when he was added to the Giants' active roster.

Officially, Gates was activated from the reserve/physically unable to perform list. Wednesday was the deadline for the Giants to either place him on the roster or keep him on PUP for the remainder of the season. But since first practicing on Oct. 5, Gates has proven to the coaches he can play. And after two offensive linemen were injured three days ago at Jacksonville, the Giants need him.

Gates is eligible to make his 2022 debut in Seattle on Sunday, 410 days after suffering what was thought to be a potentially career-ending injury to his left leg.

"We'll put him out there," coach Brian Daboll said. "I think he's improved every day since he's been out there. He looks ready to go. We'll see where that takes him. Just keep competing; whenever his number's called, be ready."

Gates has started 21 games in his career - 17 at center, two at right tackle at one at each guard position. Daboll said Gates has worked at both guard and center since his return to the field.

In the victory against the Jaguars, left guard Ben Bredeson and right tackle Evan Neal suffered knee injuries. Neither player practiced today.

"Gates can play all spots, but we've really worked him more at center and guard getting back here," Daboll said. "I know he played tackle."

It wasn't long ago that Gates was a mainstay on the Giants' offensive line. In 2020, he started all 16 games at center and was one of just five Giants to start every game.

Last year, he started the season opener at center, but moved to left guard in Week 2 after Shane Lemieux was sidelined with a knee injury. Late in the first quarter at Washington, Gates' left leg got tangled up with other players and he went down with an injury that was routinely called "gruesome." He fractured both his fibula and tibia, and subsequently underwent seven surgeries.

Gates tirelessly rehabilitated to return to the field, not knowing whether the leg would improve enough for him to play or if Daboll and his coaching staff would find a spot for him.

"Impressive," Daboll said of Gates' comeback. "I mean, so many surgeries and so much rehab. You saw him when I first got here. Just a testament to the young man. It takes a lot of perseverance to go through what he's been through and to be out here. Impressive young man."

There's no guarantee Gates will start or even play against the Seahawks. When Bredeson was forced from the game in the first quarter, rookie third-round draft choice Joshua Ezeudu stepped in and played 61 of the team's 77 offensive snaps at left guard.

Daboll said Ezeudu has improved, "every aspect of his game. You don't see it, obviously, when he's not playing. But each week, he gets a little better on the show teams. He does a good job in individual (drills). Still a young player. Still got a long way to go. But I think (offensive line coach) Bobby (Johnson) and (assistant line coach) Tony (Sparano, Jr.) have done a good job. And credit to Josh; he's done a good job on keeping his eye on just getting better day-by-day."

View photos of Giants offensive lineman Nick Gates throughout his NFL career.

*Gates was not the only player with a significant transaction.

*Tackle Matt Peart, who is on the PUP list, returned to practice. The Giants have three weeks to either activate him or keep him on the list through the end of the season.

Peart suffered a torn ACL last Dec. 26 in Philadelphia.

*Two second-year pros, linebacker Elerson Smith and cornerback Rodarius Williams, returned to practice. They have been on injured reserve since the beginning of the season.

Smith injured his lower leg in a training camp practice on Aug. 14. As a rookie in 2021, he spent the first eight weeks of the season on injured reserve with a hamstring injury suffered in training camp. Smith returned to play in eight games and totaled four tackles (one solo), two quarterback hits, one forced fumble and four special teams tackles.

Williams played in five games and had one solo tackle before tearing his right ACL at Dallas on Oct. 10. He spent the rest of the year on I.R.


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