Check out the best photos from Wednesday's practice presented by Hospital for Special Surgery
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J.**
– Nobody likes to talk about injuries, but on the 2014 Giants they can't be ignored.
The team yesterday placed five players on injured reserve, bringing its season total to 20 (including one practice squad player). The injuries have cost the Giants some of their very best and most important players (Victor Cruz, Prince Amukamara, Jon Beason), but also robbed the Giants of their depth at several positions, including running back, cornerback and, with the moves yesterday, the offensive and defensive line.
"It's never what you want to see," quarterback Eli Manning said today. "I think from the offensive standpoint it hasn't been too many guys. Our offensive line, the guys we'll have this week, will be the guys we started Week 1, so we should have everybody healthy there. … Obviously, losing Victor Cruz and losing one of your best receivers is always tough. We're going to keep going. We still feel like we can move the ball and we can play well enough to win a game."
"It has definitely taken its course on this team," safety Antrel Rolle said of the injuries. "I don't know the reason for it; it has just been a weird year all the way around."
The Giants, losers of seven straight games, Sunday will be in Tennessee to face a Titans team that has dropped six in a row.
Although offensive linemen Geoff Schwartz and Adam Snyder were in the group of players put down yesterday, the Giants, as Manning noted, should have the same five linemen who started each of the first 10 games. Right tackle Justin Pugh, who missed the last two games with a quad injury, practiced fully today and is on track to return.
"No doubt, I am playing this week," Pugh said.
In addition to Schwartz and Snyder, defensive ends Mathias Kiwanuka and Robert Ayers and linebacker Terrell Manning were placed on injured reserve. Coach Tom Coughlin said Ayers is the only one of the five who will avoid surgery.
Because Manning was signed last week off the Cincinnati Bengals' practice squad, the Giants cannot replace him – and will thus have a 52-man roster – for two more weeks. They filled the other four vacancies by signing guard Eric Herman, defensive tackle Dominique Hamilton and linebacker James Donaldson off their practice squad, as well as free agent running back Chris Ogbonnaya.
Coughlin reiterated today that injuries are part of the game, and that the Giants will continue to push forward and fight.
"Dealing with injuries and the mentality, you can't ever let situations or a person dictate your attitude no matter what you're doing, especially when you're a professional athlete," running back Rashad Jennings said. "That's always been my mentality ever since I've been in the league. Under the leadership of Tom Coughlin… from day one it was that faces may change but expectations never do. Everybody in this locker room, since I've been here, has been capable of getting the job done. I wouldn't say it changes the mentality between the snaps. Obviously, let's not overlook that, if somebody pinches you you're going to say, 'Ouch.' But how you respond to it is important. We come to work every single day and nobody's satisfied."
"Every team deals with injuries," Pugh said. "It is how you overcome the injuries. It is part of this game and I think it is something that we have to have guys step up and it is good for the young guys to get some chances to play and it is going to show us what we have here going forward."
The Giants' spate of injuries began in training camp, when running back David Wilson and guard Chris Snee were forced to retire because they hadn't sufficiently recovered from ailments they had last year. It has continued throughout the season and it certainly didn't end with the transactions yesterday. Jennings, who missed four games earlier this season with a sprained knee, injured his ankle last Sunday in Jacksonville and didn't practice today.
But Eli Manning continues to express optimism.
"That's not exactly what you're looking for, but we still have guys," Manning said. "We have, as I said, our offensive line. Obviously, Schwartz came in to be the starter and has been hurt most of the season then gets re-hurt. Unfortunate there. Bad luck with him. We have our five original starters on that offensive line back this week, so we should be good there. Receivers are playing well, tight ends are good. Andre (Williams) has been playing a lot at running back, so we shouldn't miss a beat."
They'd just like to stop getting beaten up.