Campbell hurt himself three days earlier in the preseason loss to the Falcons, and no one anticipated Campbell would be able to return during the final week of training camp. Even the final preseason game was in doubt.
Campbell had other ideas. As the Giants trotted out in the afternoon for practice, in full pads, ready for a heavy day of work with live drills and short-yardage scrimmages, there was No. 89, in uniform and on the field, missing one day instead of two weeks.
"He's a tough guy, he doesn't want to miss practice,'' an approving Fassel said. "He's a pro. With guys who come back quick, you have a high pain tolerance and you also have an unbelievable desire to practice and not take any time off. I know one thing, I always look around for guys like that. I saw that ankle, I know what he did. It was amazing he was out here.''
Campbell offered an aw-shucks expression and tried to downplay any heroic intentions. He just was feeling better and wanted to practice, although he admitted his ankle was far from perfect. He had the ankle wrapped tightly and then covered with an air cast for protection.
"I hate sitting around,'' Campbell said. "The worst thing about it is sitting in those meetings at night and you're watching film of someone else. I'm not running too good but I can block on it and move around on it a little bit.''
Campbell and another tight end, rookie Jeremy Shockey, both sprained their left ankles on the same play. Shockey remained sidelined. Campbell was thought to be hurt worse and Fassel said his best blocking tight end might be out two weeks.
Fassel said Campbell will probably play against the Jets, which is good news for the Giants, considering they were down to two inexperienced tight ends, Taman Bryant and Darnell Dinkins, with Dinkins switching from quarterback to tight end last week.
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After missing time with a bruise to the side of his back, WR Tim Carter was on the field in the morning and the rust showed. "He missed a lot,'' Fassel said of Carter, a rookie second-round pick from Auburn. "He came out here today and made mistakes and everything else. I don't like that. I want to get him out there and get him going.'' Carter fared better in the afternoon.
The starting fullback position remains clouded, with rookies Charles Stackhouse and Darian Barnes locked in a battle for one job. Stackhouse was in the initial favorite but Barnes passed him during camp. "You're hoping in that scenario one jumps out and says 'Hey, I'm your guy,' '' offensive coordinator Sean Payton said. Fassel called the competition even.