By Curt Macysyn
In a season that anything that could go wrong, has gone wrong for the New York Football Giants, this news still was not expected. All Pro receiver Victor Cruz underwent knee surgery on Thursday and is out for the remainder of the season. The team is also dealing with some bumps and bruises along the offensive line that bear watching this week. The pass protection for quarterback Eli Manning has been spotty all season, and surely the stout Detroit Lions front four are licking their chops at the thought of facing this patchwork unit.
All is not roses in the Motor City, however. As if a tough loss, 18-16, to the Baltimore Ravens on Monday was not enough, the Detroit Lions are hopeful that leading receiver Calvin Johnson, and leading tackler, DeAndre Levy are able to play on Sunday. Not having the services of either player would be a tough blow for the Lions, who need to win their their two remaining games to have any shot at the NFC playoffs.
New York Giants
The big news this week is that leading receiver Victor Cruz underwent a procedure called a debridement on his left knee on Thursday; most likely ending his season. Naturally Cruz has been ruled out of Sunday’s contest against Detroit. The salsa-dancing wideout has accumulated 73 catches for 998 receiving yards and four touchdowns. Ironically, the play when Cruz was injured was originally ruled a catch, but overturned upon official review of he would have had 1,000 yards receiving for the third straight season. Because of salary cap concerns, expect Cruz to remain on the inactive list, rather than to have the team place him on injured reserve.
The Giants prepared for the unavailability of Cruz by signing his former college teammate Julian Talley off their practice squad. Talley was signed after the G-men placed corner back Corey Webster on injured reserve this week. Webster had been battling myriad problems including hip, groin and ankle injuries.
Whispers around Giants camp indicate that defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul has been advised by doctors to rest his ailing shoulder for the remainder of the year, a contention that JPP steadfastly denies. Pierre-Paul will not play again this week, but the team is likely to keep him on the active roster due to salary cap concerns. Rookies Damontre Moore and Johnathan Hankins will see more time in the defensive line rotation, and second year player Markus Kuhn will likely pick up a few more repetitions as well.
The offensive line situation continues to worsen for New York as both starting guards, David Diehl and James Brewer, show up on the injury report. Both may try to give it a go, but also look for the Giants to play Brandon Mosley at one of the guard spots. However the offensive line is configured, it surely will remain the weak link in the Giants offense.
Reserve running back Peyton Hillis has not practiced this week after suffering a concussion against the Seahawks. Hillis has apparently not passed the NFL concussion protocols, and his loss means that rookie Michael Cox will be thrust into action.
Defensive backs Terrell Thomas and Trumaine McBride both played last week, as they show up on the weekly injury report. Thomas has been taking time off to rest his surgically repaired knee, and McBride has been dealing with a groin issue. Expect both to play this Sunday.
Rookie safety Cooper Taylor remains on the injury list with a hamstring pull, and is listed as out again this week.
As big a target as Calvin Johnson is for Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford, he is also a target for defensive backs around the league. Johnson, or Megatron, as he is known, absorbed several big hits against the tough Ravens defense on Monday night and shows up on the injury report nursing a bum knee. But similar to the Giants’ Terrell Thomas, Johnson routinely takes days off to rest his weary body, especially so with a knee that has bothered him since September. Fully expect Megatron out there on Sunday because Nate Burleson and Kris Durham represent a big drop off in production.
Lions leading tackler DeAndre Levy is not getting much Pro Bowl support thus far, but he is an important player for the Lions. He hurt his foot against the Ravens and is questionable for Sunday. Levy is tied with the Giants Antrel Rolle and the Seahawks Richard Sherman for the league lead in interceptions with six. Veteran Rocky McIntosh would replace Levy if he is out.
Tight end Brandon Pettigrew’s absence from the lineup due to an ankle injury would mean more time for rookie Joseph Fauria. Fauria had a touchdown catch in Monday’s loss to the Ravens, which was highlighted by his own unique touchdown dance. Pettigrew has missed practice all week.
Rookie cornerback Darius Slay will miss another week after undergoing knee surgery in early December, and his return this season is unknown. But it appears that Detroit will be getting Chris Houston back from a toe injury which kept him out of Monday’s loss to the Ravens, which would be a good trade-off for Detroit.
Starting cornerback Rashean Mathis sat out Thursday and Friday with an undisclosed illness, but he is expected to play on Sunday. Backup safety John Wendling has an ankle injury that may keep him out against the G-men.
New York Giants
- CB Terrell Thomas (Knee)
- DT Cullen Jenkins (Shin/Quad)
- CB Trumaine McBride (Groin)
- WR Jerrel Jernigan (Knee)
- OG James Brewer (Ankle)
- OG David Diehl (Knee)
- DE Jason Pierre-Paul (Shoulder)
- S Cooper Taylor (Hamstring)
- WR Victor Cruz (Knee)
- RB Peyton Hillis (Concussion)
- CB Corey Webster (Ankle/Injured Reserve)
- CB Chris Houston (Toe)
- WR Calvin Johnson (Knee)
- CB Rashean Mathis (Illness)
- P Sam Martin (Groin)
- TE Brandon Pettigrew (Ankle)
- S John Wendling (Ankle)
- LB DeAndre Levy (Foot)
- S Louis Delmas (Knee)
- CB Darius Slay (Knee)
For more Giants news and updates, visit Giants Central.
Curt Macysyn has been covering the New York Football Giants for the past two seasons for Examiner.com. Born and raised in northern New Jersey, Curt has followed and covered the New York Metropolitan sports scene for 35 years. He attended Seton Hall Prep School in South Orange, NJ and is a graduate of Rutgers University, New Brunswick. His work can be found on aExaminer.com.