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Injuries force Giants out of position

It’s become a recurring theme at the start of each week for the Giants to see what new name has made it to the injured list.     

It’s become a recurring theme at the start of each week for the Giants to see what new name has made it to the injured list.

Sunday night’s decimation of the Chicago Bears came at a price, as starters Ahmad Bradshaw, Osi Umenyiora, and Adam Koets each showed up on yesterday’s injury report. Bradshaw, who was coming off a 129-yard performance against the Bears, aggravated an ankle and didn’t return late in the game. Tom Coughlin said Bradshaw is “still sore, taped up and will try to go [in practice this week].”

Bradshaw’s maladies last season were also his ankle and foot and he made it a routine of not practicing most of the week, while donning a walking boot. His only action of the week would actually be game day.

Coughlin, however, doesn’t foresee – or want to see – a recurrence of that situation.

“No, I’d rather not have him do that,” Coughlin said when asked if last season’s handling of Bradshaw could rear itself again. “And quite honestly, he doesn’t like doing that either.”

Umenyiora, who also had a breakout game against the Bears with three sacks, aggravated a knee and did not practice. As Mathias Kiwanuka continues to nurse a bulging disk in his neck and looks to be out indefinitely, any lost time for Umenyiora adds even more pressure to the thinning Giants defensive roster. Coughlin said there’s “nothing new” to report about Kiwi and sounded as if he’s not counting on his return, Sunday, against the Houston Texans [3-1].

The Giants [2-2] are already without starting center Shaun O’Hara [ankle/Achilles] and may also be without his replacement, Koets. The fourth-year player played admirably in his two replacement starts for O’Hara but with Koets now nursing his own injury [knee], the Giants may slide regular starting left guard Rich Seubert to center.

Of all the injuries to New York so far, though, O’Hara may be the most costly. The linchpin of the line, the guy who makes all the line calls, and a former Pro Bowler, O’Hara was the glue to a suddenly aging line. Coughlin said O’Hara didn’t fare so well in his running test, Tuesday, during the Giants’ day off, and will most likely be ruled out for Sunday.

“We’re disappointed that he didn’t do so well,” said Coughlin. “He still isn’t ready yet.”

The shifting of players from their customary positions doesn’t end with Seubert. Should Koets be sidelined, starting left tackle David Diehl will slide down to left guard to fill Seubert’s switch, while former Philadelphia Eagles tackle Shawn Andrews takes Diehl’s spot.

“They’re interchangeable,” noted Coughlin when asked about the Diehl and Andrews swaps. “They’ll both get time at tackle and guard [during practices this week], so we’ll see [about Sunday’s lineup].”

Perhaps most alarming about the move, if it happens, is what to make of the Diehl switch. Diehl is certainly able to play the guard spot, as he was drafted as a guard in 2003 and was the first Giants rookie to start all 16 games as a rookie since Mark Bavaro did it in 1985. But it does show a lack of confidence if your regular left tackle swings to guard midweek, especially when Andrews is a former two-time Pro Bowl guard himself. Diehl, who earned his way to the Pro Bowl at left tackle as a Super Bowl replacement in 2010, has seen his production drop off this season but seemingly still had the confidence of the coaching staff to protect Eli Manning’s blind side.

Such a bold move by Coughlin could backfire, especially since the Giants will be playing on the road, in a hostile and loud environment, against one of the premiere pass rushers in the league in Texan defensive end Mario Williams. The last time the Giants faced such obstacles was in Indianapolis in week two, and that didn’t go so well.

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