Getty Images - Nick Laham
What a pleasant surprise it must have been for the Giants to see big number 17 out on the practice field for the first time in close to two months. Yes, Plaxico Burress, albeit in a limited capacity, was back out working with his teammates in preparation for New York's crucial match this Sunday with Dallas.
“The first ball I caught in practice, all my teammates started clapping,” Burress said. “I guess they got a big kick out of that and it was kind of funny.”
Burress practiced for the first time since Sept. 12, four days before the Giants faced Green Bay. He has been plagued all season by a sprained ankle he originally suffered in training camp on Aug. 2. Despite his mid-week inactivity, Burress was one of the NFL’s best receivers in the first half of the season. Burress was the only Giant named today to Pro Football Weekly’s Midseason All-Pro team. The other wide receiver on the team is New England’s Randy Moss. Burress leads the Giants with 37 catches for 564 yards and eight touchdowns.
Although the Giants were coming off a bye, Burress was not expected to participate in today’s practice, the first in which the Giants focused on the Dallas Cowboys, their opponent Sunday in a huge NFC East game. Indeed, in response to a question, the first words Tom Coughlin said at his news conference today were, “Burress won’t practice.”
But Burress did practice, a positive development for him, Eli Manning and the rest of the offense.
“When we came in from walkthrough this morning, Plaxico felt like he wanted to give it a go at practice,” Coughlin said after the workout. “The medical staff said it was okay on a limited basis. He went out with the intent of going through the individual drills. He felt good after those, and we let him run one every three or four plays for the first half of practice. He did well working under some limitations, like no jumping. The team gave him a Bronx cheer the first time he caught a ball during team work. Now we will see how he feels tomorrow.”
“It is good to get him back and get some reps,” Manning said.
Burress said his ankle didn’t feel much better, but he thought it was a good time to test it in practice.
“I felt that with the layoff and not playing last week I would just go out and get some reps and move around a little bit,” he said. “I come in every day and coach asks me how I feel. Some days are better than others. I felt from a physical standpoint, with the layoff and not playing this weekend, I thought it would be beneficial to the quarterback for me to go out and get some reps.”
Burress said he did all of the individual and team drills, then ran selected plays during the game plan portion of practice.
“I did all the new plays, the wrinkles in the offense – some new formations and things like that,” Burress said. “I was mixing it up, going in and out and running some of the plays I thought it was important for me to be in and some of the plays that we’ll be running this week. There were a handful of selected plays that the coaches and I agreed I would be in. I’m just trying to get back into the groove as far as getting reps. The more I get, I think the better I’ll be.
“It can be nothing but positive as far as how I’m looking at it. The more reps I can go out and get, the more beneficial it will be to me and Eli.”