Perhaps Tom Coughlin should just cancel Friday practices entirely. It seems whenever one of them comes up, either an injury gets aggravated or a new one crops up to jeopardize a player’s gameday availability.
A week ago, Kenny Phillips’ tired and sore knee on Wednesday turned into a sprained MCL on Friday. Two weeks ago, it was Osi Umenyiora coming up with late-week knee swelling that rendered him a question mark for the Bears. Luckily for the Giants, he flourished in that game.
Now it’s placekicker Lawrence Tynes, who legitimately sprained his left (plant) foot while practicing kickoffs during the special teams segment of Friday’s practice. He is questionable, leaving the Giants in a position where they might have to bring in a replacement before today’s weekly signing deadline of 4 p.m. just in case.
The Giants could sign somebody like John Carney, who the Saints cut Tuesday, and have him ready in no time. Carney, who replaced Tynes in 2008 as Tynes sat with a sprained knee, hit field goals of 31 and 32 yards for the Saints just last week, so he is the most in-practice kicker of the legion of unemployed out there.
The Saints signed the 46-year-old Carney in September as regular kicker Garrett Hartley struggled. But when they signed RB Julius Jones on Tuesday, Carney was let go to create roster room.
Rookie punter Matt Dodge could handle kickoffs, as he did 137 times in college for East Carolina. But his placekicking is hardly as powerful as his punting. He recorded just 10 touchbacks. The Giants would not want to use him on field goals, as he missed his only try in college, a 40-plus-yarder he pulled wide.
Still, there remains an even chance that Tynes could make it back to face the 1-4 Lions.
“We have to watch and see how he does,” said Coughlin. “He did this in the summer one time, and he was able to come back after a couple of days.”
Tynes, who is 5-of-8 in field goals and perfect on 13 extra point tries, is officially listed as questionable.
Former Denver and Atlanta kicker Jason Elam, former Bengal Shayne Graham, and former Redskin and Cowboy Scott Suisham are other name kickers looking for jobs.
This would not be the first time the Giants will have brought in a stand-by leg. Sean Landeta spent a week with his old team when venerable punter Jeff Feagles seemed iffy.
Having the inconsistent Dodge perform double duty would not be the best way to go, but it might be a possibility.
“At times, I thought I was pretty good at it, for sure,” Dodge said. “I had a few touchbacks here or there. We sprayed the ball around a lot. I feel I could do it if I needed to.”
Still, Dodge wasn’t counting Tynes out. Tynes did not address the media after practice, presumably staying in the trainer’s room.
“He doesn’t look like he’s hobbling at all, so encouraging,” Dodge said. “I think he will be okay.”
Coughlin should hope so. Fridays has become a dangerous day around the Giants’ practice facility.