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O’Hara fighting foot problems

The Giants are fresh off their bye, but hardly fresh up front.

The Giants are fresh off their bye, but hardly fresh up front.

Starting center Shaun O’Hara, who has been plagued with ankle and Achilles injuries all season, was banged up in Dallas last Monday. Coach Tom Coughlin wouldn’t elaborate further on the status of O’Hara’s mild midfoot sprain, only saying “we’ll see.” If O’Hara can’t go Sunday in Seattle, Adam Koets may take his spot in the lineup.

Koets filled in admirably when O’Hara missed three straight games earlier this season but playing in arguably the loudest outdoor stadium in the league, the Seahawks’ Qwest Field, could be asking a lot of the young vet. O’Hara didn’t practice Monday, leaving his status up in the air.

The Giants can find consolation in knowing that versatile linemen Kevin Boothe and Will Beatty are inching toward full health. Boothe (torn pectoral) isn’t back yet but Beatty, who underwent surgery to repair a broken bone in his foot following the season opener, has begun running on the side during practice. Neither have played center but both have the athletic abilities to rotate between both tackle spots and guard, which could set up Rich Seubert to snap the ball to Eli Manning on Sunday.

Cornerback Bruce Johnson is also on the mend, as he’s recovering from the arthroscopic knee surgery he had during the bye week. When asked if Johnson will miss the rest of the season, Coughlin said, “We’ll see. I’m not ready to comment on that yet.”

Besides trying to fill in the gaps along the offensive line, the Giants must now officially move on in regards to Mathias Kiwanuka. Perhaps New York’s most skilled defensive player, Kiwi had four sacks in the first three games this season but will no longer be a factor this season. He was placed on the season-ending injured reserve list during the bye week, suffering from a herniated disk in his neck. This could also be Kiwi’s final season in New York, as this is the final year of his rookie contract.

Taking his spot on the roster was his former college roommate at Boston College, Will Blackmon, who was signed last Thursday. The defensive back and return specialist last played for the Green Bay Packers before reaching an injury settlement with the team following this past summer’s training camp.

“Blackmon had a very good workout for us and showed that he has recovered nicely from a serious knee injury,” General Manager Jerry Reese said. “We expect him to get into the mix quickly on special teams. He has experience and production as a return specialist and cover specialist. He also has played both safety and corner, which gives us some flexibility there as well.”

Blackmon has twice been named NFC Special Teams Player of the Week. The first was in Week 14 of the 2007 season, when he returned a punt 57 yards for his first career touchdown and he recovered a fumbled punt in the end zone for another score in a 38-7 rout of Oakland. He was honored again in Week 1 of the 2008 season after scoring on a career-long 76-yard punt return vs. Minnesota.

He’ll certainly press Darius Reynaud for playing time in the special teams department, as the Giants need a boost from its unit. Reynaud was specifically brought over from the Minnesota Vikings via trade earlier this season and has disappointed. New York’s average starting point following an opposing kickoff is the 22.7 yard line, which ranks 30th in the league.

 
 
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