All sorts of mystery surrounding the Kenny Phillips situation, from whether the player himself wants cartilage surgery on his left knee, to how long he'll be out, to potential roster moves in other areas to accommodate another safety so Phillips won't have to go on IR.
Tom Coughlin left the door wide open to all speculation when he apologetically put off all comment until later. A team spokesman said an announcement could come down by around 4 p.m.
"There's a lot of cirumstances involved here and I'm not at liberty to say anything at this point," Coughlin said. "All circumstances. There's a lot of other circumstances surrounding this, not just Kenny."
The players were typically tight-lipped over the issue. But here's one possibility. Assuming the potential surgery will not require the rest of the regular season for rehab, the Giants could conceivably cut a player from another position, bring in an Aaron Rouse, Steve Cargile, or even Giants cut Travonti Johnson and carry Phillips until he's ready to get back toward the end of the season.
Just where that cut would come from is the question. The secondary and defensive line have gone from two of the Giants' deepest positions to paper thin in a matter of two weeks, so those are out. It's also hard to believe they'd cut a linebacker.
They could cut an offensive lineman, though. T Guy Wimper hasn't played this year, so he could be expendable. A trade could also be a far less likely possibility.
All we do know right now is that Phillips was no where to be found yesterday.
"I haven't talked to him," said CB Kevin Dockery, whose own hamstring problem will probably keep him out a third straight game Sunday. "I hope he doesn't need an operation. That'd be bad for him and bad for us. I'll probably talk to him later."
The Giants carried only eight DBs coming out of camp, and Phillips, Aaron Ross (hamstring) and Dockery (hamstring) are hurt. That leaves only Michael Johnson as C.C. Brown as their only healthy safeties. Sha'reff Rashad could be called up from the practice squad, but the coaches haven't informed him of any such move yet.
"I'm not sure right now," Rashad said. "Hopefully, I'll be ready if called on. But Kenny's a great player on run support."
For a defense that was gashed for 251 yards and three touchdowns last week, losing Phillips would be a major blow. Consider, too, that DE Justin Tuck, an excellent run-stopper, also will probably sit out against Tampa's Cadillac Williams and former Giant Derek Ward.
Defensive coordinator Bill Sheridan said he needs at least six DBs for the game. But bringing a new guy up to speed by Sunday wouldn't be a problem, he said.
"It's not like we're gonna ask him to play a whole game," Sheridan said. "Everybody plays a two-deep, three-deep. So yeah, you can get a guy up to snuff.
Still, a new guy would probably not duplicate what Phillips does.
"He's a sideline-to-sideline guy and he can run to the ball and make big plays," CB Corey Webster said. "He's a big part that's gonna be missing. But everybody's a professional, and we won't have a problem."
Webster can only hope.
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