Recently-named Pro Bowl starter Landon Collins has been battling an ankle injury:
You have a nagging ankle injury. Your team isn't going to the postseason. Heck, you even have a Pro Bowl nod all wrapped up. You should just shut it down.
Landon Collins has heard it all – maybe even tempted by it. But that's not the way he is built.
"No. Not at all. That's not built in me," Collins said a day after he was named the NFC's starting strong safety in the upcoming Pro Bowl for the second year in a row. "I'm definitely going to give my other guys some reps at the position, but I'm definitely not in the mindset to shut it down."
Rather, the safety is doing all he can to gut it out on game day.
Collins originally sprained his ankle in Week 5 against the Chargers, the same game the Giants lost a trio of wide receivers for the season. He has been on and off the injury report since then while his closest call came this past week when he was listed as doubtful. But the team leader in tackles for the last three seasons wasn't about to miss a start for the first time in his career. He went as long as he could before having to shut it down in the second quarter in the loss to Philadelphia.
"No, I wasn't 100 percent at all," Collins admitted Wednesday. "I just felt like my presence on the field would help my defense. It kind of did in the first half and I tried to just make it work from there. It was working until I tweaked it."
And so the clock resets. The Giants kick off at University of Phoenix Stadium at 4:25 p.m. ET on Sunday.
Last week, interim head coach and defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo said sometimes you have to save players like Collins from themselves. That's where the medical staff comes in, and the doctors and trainers will determine if he is a go for Sunday against the Cardinals. The concern with playing through injuries is trying to prevent it from getting worse.
"Yeah, there's always a danger," Collins said. "It happens, it's the game of football. I know my health, I know where I'm at with it and I know my limitations."
Whether or not he ends up on the field, Collins will help the defense prepare to face a Cardinals offense making another quarterback change. Cardinals coach Bruce Arians decided to re-insert Drew Stanton into the lineup this week against the Giants. Stanton hasn't played since hurting his knee against Seattle on Nov. 9. Blaine Gabbert had started the previous five games.
"We got to study both guys because one can go in, one can go out," Collins said. "You don't know which guy we're going to get. They could trade in halftime, we don't know what's going to happen. So you kind of got to study both guys. We know a little bit more about Stanton. He's a gunslinger, he wants to go for the deep balls and stuff like that. So we kind of know him and then the other quarterback, he just kind of works the process of the offense."
Meanwhile, back at their facility in Tempe, the Cardinals are keeping close tabs on Collins' status. Everything changes when No. 21 is in the secondary.
"Oh, there's no doubt," Arians said. "You're talking about a really Pro Bowl-type player. He's a ball hawk, he's got great hands and he's a great tackler. So I think one of the things, when you're letting balls go down the middle, you better know where he's at."