After an entire summer of nervous anticipation and roster shuffling the Giants nightmare is finally over. On Thursday, fullback Henry Hynoski was removed from the physically unable to perform list and took the field during practice.
Although Hynoski worked out separately from the rest of the squad, it was a great sign for Giants fans who are worried about the veteran fullback missing the start of the regular season because of the knee surgery he had in May. That may still happen, by Hynoski getting into practice before the third preseason game means that he won't be out of game action for much longer.
"I'm hoping for it," said Hynoski about playing in Week 1 against Dallas. "That's my goal, but if it takes to Week 2 or 3, that's fine. We have a very smart medical staff and trainers and they're going to put me in the right position when they know I'm physically fit to be out there and performing at the best that I can."
Reserve tight end Bear Pascoe has been filling in for Hynoski at fullback all summer, and the situation for New York only grew more dire when the fullback they brought in during training camp, Ryan D'Imperio, retired two weeks ago. With Hynoski taking a big step forward in his knee recovery, the Giants have one less thing to worry about.
"It feels good," said Hynoski about his left knee that he injured back during organized team activities. "I'm very happy to be out here with my teammates and just get out here moving around and doing some things. Obviously, we're starting off slow just doing individuals for a little while and then building up from there on out."
Building up is what the Giants are trying to do with their rushing attack that lost lead yardage man Ahmad Bradshaw in offseason free agency. Hynoski coming back means the return of an extra layer of stability that is needed more sorely since David Diehl went down with a thumb injury.
"I'm more of an offensive lineman, I guess," said Hynoski regarding his play style. "Because the role I have in this offense, but I think it came at a good time because we do have some key guys out now, especially with Diehl being down. So the more blockers we can get in there, especially for pass protection, the better. We've got to protect our quarterback."
Whether it's in the run game or the pass game, Hynoski's return means good thing for New York's offense. While he won't play this Saturday and may not see any preaseason action at all, Hynoski is still on target to be on the field in uniform by September.
So what does Pascoe do now that the team has a full-time fullback again? Hynoski isn't worried about him.
"Bear just loves playing football. Bear doesn't care where he has to play," noted Hynoski. "He just wants to play and it doesn't matter what position. He can line up at fullback, tight end, receiver or whatever he wants… tackle. He can do it all. He'll even paint your back porch."