Osi Umenyiora today stood at his locker and gave his first interview since the start of training camp. The two-time Pro Bowler hasn't practiced since undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery on Aug. 19. He said playing Sunday in Philadelphia is "not out of the question," though it seems he has a better chance to return next week in Arizona.
"Hopefully," Umenyiora said. "It depends on what (team physician) Dr. Russell Warren and (vice president of medical services) Ronnie Barnes tell me to do. If they think it's time for me to go, then I'll be ready to go."
Umenyiora said he is on the proper schedule.
"I haven't had any setbacks," he said. "It's supposed to be a four to six week recovery. I'm still well within that range. No setbacks at all."
Asked what percentage he has reached in his recovery, Umenyiora said, "You can't really put a percentage on it because I don't want to jinx myself or suffer any setbacks. As soon as it's ready to go, I'll be out there."
After missing the early portion of training camp Umenyiora returned to practice in mid-August hoping to be ready for the start of the regular season. But the knee, which he said has bothered him for years, didn't respond as he had hoped.
"Pain and swelling," he said. "After practice it would swell up and then I would work all night to get the swelling down. I would go out and it would swell up again. Really, there was no way I was going to be able to make it through a season like that."
Though the knee gave him problems, Umenyiora found joy in simply being in uniform and on the practice field with his teammates.
"Once I came out there on the football field it was just so much fun being around them and talking trash to (Will) Beatty and going back and forth," Umenyiora said. "It was just fun. I love to play. As soon as I'm able to get back and do that, I'll go out there and do it."
After the surgery, he recovered, rested and rehabilitated and in the last week he has begun to work on the field as the Giants have practiced.
"(I) work on my technique and my fundamentals," Umenyiora said. "I really haven't played football in a game since January 3. It's been almost eight, nine months now. It's going to be difficult, but I have to begin to get myself acclimated back to playing football. So I go out there and I do drills and things of that nature. Hopefully, I'll be alright when it's time to go."
Umenyiora started all 16 games last season at defensive right end and has played in all 32 games since he missed the entire 2008 season following knee surgery. Not being on the field with his teammates is a form of torture to Umenyiora.
"It's been tough," he said. "I miss my teammates. I love those guys. I feel like I can help this team and we did a good job of that last week. I think the D-line has been playing outstanding. I think Dave (Tollefson) and Jason (Pierre-Paul) and everybody have been playing very, very well in my absence. That also played a factor in why I haven't rushed back or done anything crazy to try to get back, because those guys are holding their own out there. Whenever it's time for me, whenever I'm 100 percent, or like I said before, close to 100 percent, that's when I'll go back out there."
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