"I have never broken a bone in my body and I have never had surgery before," Amukamara said today, less than 24 hours after suffering his first fracture, which will force him to endure his initial operation. Amukamara, the cornerback whom the Giants selected on the first round of this year's NFL Draft, broke the fifth metatarsal bone in his left foot. He will undergo surgery – it is not yet scheduled - and be sidelined for an indefinite period.
"It's definitely a little adversity I'm going to have to deal with," said Amukamara, who signed his contract the day before suffering the injury. He missed the first five training camp practices at the Timex Performance Center. "I still have high expectations with the Giants and high expectations for myself, so it's just all about focusing on the things I can control and getting better in my rehab, and still staying in the playbook."
Tom Coughlin was asked to gauge his level of surprise and disappointment when he learned of Amukamara's injury.
"Shocked is a better word," Coughlin said. "He did individual work and as far as I know he took one play. So I have no idea how. He had some issues working out (before joining the team). He had no communication with us and he said he was sore in that area, too. Who knows?"
"Some issues" does not mean Amukamara was hurt when he arrived in camp.
"He said he had had some issues, some soreness," Coughlin said. "I'm not quoting him now. All I know is, I'm being told second-hand that he did say that. Back to the original question, it's shocking. It's most difficult. We've done this before. We've gone through this before. You wait and wait and wait and then you get a guy in here. We were very conscious of the fact that he hadn't been around, hadn't been here and so regardless of what we were dressed in, we were going to make sure to take good care of him. He wasn't going to get many snaps but that's to no avail. So we're disappointed, very disappointed. The only thing we can say now is that hopefully he's on track to have a chance and recover."
"I checked out good in my physical, so it's just one of those things that just happened," Amukamara said.
He sustained the injury while covering wide receiver Duke Calhoun in a one-on-one drill yesterday.
"I was in press coverage and the receiver just stopped and I stopped with him and I just came out of the cut and I don't know if he stepped on my foot or anything like that," Amukamara said. "What was funny about it was that we repeated that drill like five times right before I had to do it live on the receiver and there was no problem. It was just one of those random injuries."
It's the second one the Giants have suffered at cornerback in this camp. On Thursday, Bruce Johnson ruptured his Achilles tendon. He will undergo surgery and is out for the season.
The Giants still have three experienced corners in starters Terrell Thomas and Corey Webster, plus fifth-year pro Aaron Ross. But until Amukamara returns, additional depth must come from a pool of largely untested players, including Michael Coe, Brian Witherspoon and Joe Burnett.
"It's a big issue," Ross said. "Losing Bruce Johnson was huge and then losing Prince on the second day - that's huge as well. Team depth at corner is really important right now, especially how fast corners go down throughout the season. Losing those two guys is really big."
Tackle William Beatty suffered the same injury in the 2010 season opener vs. Carolina on Sept. 12. He next played in a game on Nov. 14.
"It was a painful experience," Beatty said. "Going into the season and the first game, you want to do so much and have so many goals set forth. Then having to break my foot and recover from that injury, it was a learning experience for me."
Beatty had one piece of advice for Amukamara.
"He just has to stay mentally focused," Beatty said. "Just make sure that he knows he is surrounded by a good team of doctors and specialists that will take care of him to the best of their abilities. Knowing to trust the coaches and their decisions and they want our safety. They want us to play for many years and just the safety of the team. Just know that everything is going to be alright."
Coughlin said Amukamara's timetable could differ from Beatty's.
"It's a lighter athlete; Beatty being an offensive lineman and having to be able to push like he pushes," Coughlin said. "Everybody's got to be able to run so we're just guessing. I don't know."
Despite the uncertainty surrounding Amukamara, Ross believes the young corner will contribute to the team as rookie.
"I told him that he is going to be a big help to us," said Ross, who was the 20th overall selection in the 2007 draft, one spot later than Amukamara was chosen this year. "Going down the road, we get nicked up pretty often with all the press-man that we do and running all day. We play a lot of nickel package. We need a lot of depth at corner right now."
If a silver lining exists for Amukamara, it is he can now become much more familiar with the defense before he steps onto the field. Without benefit of the offseason classroom and field work, he was just beginning to study Perry Fewell's schemes and packages.
"I still have to continue to grind in the playbook and be ready whenever I'm healthy," Amukamara said.
First, he must clear the tall hurdle that represents his disappointment about the injury.
"I'm really down on myself," Amukamara said. "I feel like I let the team down and myself down, but I can't worry about that too much. I just have to continue to move forward and continue to persevere. That was pretty ironic, because that was one of the words that Coach Coughlin used today, so that hit home with me. I just have to use that as motivation."
*The Giants have dealt with several peripheral issues since camp opened – the cornerback injuries, Kevin Boss' departure, Osi Umenyiora not practicing – but Eli Manning said they have not affected the team's preparation.
"I think everything's going smoothly," Manning said. "I think the offense, we were doing a lot of good things and guys were getting better. There are always parts of camp when you have good days or some days when things are a little tougher – inserting new plays where things have got to go. But I think so far, guys are playing fast. We have a number of receivers, we've got a good grasp of the offense, rotating a lot of guys in. They're all making plays and doing good stuff. Tight ends are doing well. I feel good about what we're doing. We just have to work better and keep working and getting better."
*Dave Carr and Sage Rosenfels are competing for the backup job behind Manning. Carr held the position in 2008 and '09 and it was Rosenfels' last year, when Carr played in San Francisco. Quarterbacks coach Mike Sullivan was asked what he is looking for in his backup.
"He's got to be somebody that can carry the load, that can go through and in the event that, heaven forbid, something happens to Eli he can come in there and we don't have a huge drop off," Sullivan said. "Obviously, Eli's expertise and his experience and his command of this offense has been tremendous. He needs to improve. It's going to be a learning curve for anybody to come in without those reps to be able to play at that same level. It can't be a scenario in which if there is a circumstance which we would have a backup quarterback step in and we'd have to change drastically what we do. We like to have as minimal drop off as possible."
- Devin Thomas is sidelined after dislocating his pinky on Friday and Coughlin said the wide receiver's return is not imminent.
"I'm sure it will be until the time when they feel like he's not going to gain some kind of infection because of the taping, un-taping, showering, all that," Coughlin said. "So, let's face it, it's a bad spot for a receiver because there are an awful lot of things that Devin could be doing out there other than that. It'll be a while, it'll be a while."
*The Giants signed tight end Daniel Coats, a 6-2, 270-pound five-year veteran. Coats entered the NFL as a rookie free agent with the Cincinnati Bengals in 2007. He has played in 57 games with 18 starts and has 30 catches for 291 yards (a 9.7-yard average) and no touchdowns. In 2010, he played in 10 games (six for Cincinnati and four for Denver), but did not have a catch.
Tight end Ben Patrick, who joined the team last Monday, was formally placed on the reserve/retired list.
*Wide receivers Mario Manningham (ankle) and Domenik Hixon (knee) returned to practice…Hakeem Nicks drew a big cheer from the crowd when he caught a long pass up the left side from Eli Manning…Sage Rosenfels and Hixon later hooked up for a similar completion, eliciting a fist pump from the quarterback…Defensive tackle Linval Joseph batted a pass back to Manning who then ran for a few yards…Rookie receiver Jerrel Jernigan made a couple of nice catches…Sixth-round draft choice Tyler Sash took some snaps with the first defense in place of Kenny Phillips.
*Rookie defensive tackle Marvin Austin, the team's second-round draft choice, missed practice with a hip flexor injury…Kicker Lawrence Tynes has a sore quad, so Matt Dodge handled kickoffs in today's special teams drill…Osi Umenyiora was not on the field because he received treatment on his knee...Also missing practice were wide receiver Devin Thomas (finger), offensive lineman Jim Cordle (knee), linebacker Spencer Paysinger (groin) and safeties Brian Jackson (back) and Cary Harris (shoulder). Cornerback Joe Burnett left early with a hamstring injury.
*Practice attendance was 973.
*The Giants have instituted a phone hotline for fans seeking information about training camp practices. Fans may call 201-935-8111, extension 9385 to learn about practices times and other camp info.
*Timex, the official training partner of the Giants, is providing 20 lucky fans and their guests a VIP experience hosted by Super Bowl XXV MVP Ottis Anderson at the Timex Performance Center on Friday, August 19. Fans can enter by visiting Giants.com/Timex through Friday, Aug. 12.