Steve Smith had just returned from missing four games with a partially torn pectoral muscle when he was taken down on his only catch of Monday's 21-3 victory over Minnesota.
He limped off the field, and early reports were that a hamstring injury would probably keep him out of this week's NFC East clash with Philadelphia. But it turned out to be anything but a simple hamstring. Smith suffered what the Giants are calling "an articular cartilage injury" to his left knee, that will require season-ending surgery.
He will become the 11th player to go on IR this year; the fifth receiver, joining Victor Cruz, Ramses Barden, Sinorice Moss, and Domenik Hixon. But for the Giants, it is a huge blow. They had believed they were getting healthier, with Smith, one of the most reliable third-down receivers in the league, slowly rounding back into form. This will force Derek Hagan into the No. 1 spot the rest of the season, and the Giants will now keep their fingers crossed that Hakeem Nicks and his surgical right leg stay in one piece over the last three games.
Smith finished the season with 48 catches for 529 yards and three touchdowns in nine games.
WR Mario Manningham (hip flexor), OL Shawn Andrews (back), C Shaun O'Hara (foot), and DE Osi Umenyiora (knee) were on the preliminary injury report. The Giants also signed LB Kenny Ingram to the practice squad and released DT Joe Joseph.