The New York Giants have been without some of their main pieces to the 2013 puzzle during the opening weeks of preseason. These are some big names that have contributed to the Giants success over the last several years.
In fact, Big Blue is preparing to begin the season without some of their major contributors on defense.
The defensive line has specifically taken a hit. Jason Pierre-Paul isn't rushing back after having back surgery in June. Justin Tuck has been nursing a back problem as well and has not seen much action.
The G-Men turned to some unfamiliar faces to step up during their first preseason game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Head Coach Tom Coughlin was impressed with the performance of Damontre Moore, but the rookie watched from sidelines earlier in the week with a shoulder contusion.
"They say he's getting closer," Coughlin said, about the health of his young defensive end.
Safety Antrel Rolle left practice early on Monday with a sprained ankle. If Rolle misses the early part of the season, recently acquired Ryan Mundy will be called upon to fill the void. Mundy has spent the first four seasons of his career with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Terrell Thomas is returning from his third ACL injury. The Giants have not rushed Thomas back into full speed but team officials said he is making progress. Thomas could be a versatile player with the defense this year. Defensive Coordinator Perry Fewell will switch him between the nickel corner and safety positions.
"If they're very attentive and alert and understand the circumstances that they're in, then they really do not lose any of the mental time,",Couglin said about the players who have been sitting out. Coughlin later added, "It's the field time that they lose and hopefully as soon as they get to comeback they catch up. It might be a day, it might be two days, it depends on how it is."
The Giants offense luckily has not been hit by the injury bug as bad as the defense. Big Blue has been cautious with Hakeem Nicks, who missed the preseason opener against the Steelers. The Giants expect Nicks to play Sunday against the Indianapolis Colts.
The Giants' first-round draft pick Justin Pugh missed around a week of practice with a concussion and is scheduled to suit up for Sunday night's game.
"He's working just like the rest of the team,' Couglin said about Pugh. "He's practicing, being corrected. He's athletic. He does a lot of good things. I'm anxious to see him play against someone else and then evaluate how he does."
The Giants seem to be dropping like flies during practice. Injuries are one of the many bumps in the road that Big Blue will face during the course of the season. They have been hesitant to put players back on the field after injury because of they want these guys for the end of the season. The G-Men do not want to burn out the same way they did last season, especially with the talent this team has gathered on the field.