Chris Canty was optimistic his surgically-repaired knee would be ready for the start of training camp. Now the Giants’ sturdy defensive tackle is uncertain he will be able to play in the Sept. 5 season opener vs. Dallas.
“I definitely wouldn’t want to miss that one,” Canty said today at the team’s training camp site at the University at Albany. “I don’t know. I don’t know if we’re going to be setting any dates or anything like that. Obviously, you’ve heard the medical staff, you’ve heard coach (Tom Coughlin), he says it’s going to be a while – we take our cues from him.”
Canty was placed on the physically unable to perform list when camp opened on Thursday. When asked about Canty at his opening news conference, Coughlin said, “It’s going to take a little while.” Canty wasn’t about to dispute that today.
“Coach says it’s going to be a while, it’s going to be a while,” Canty said. “He’s the man. Coach says it’s going to be a while, it’s going to be a while. The competitive nature of a player is to want to go out there and compete. So they have to protect us from ourselves sometimes.”
While his teammates practice, Canty is doing everything he can to join them as quickly as possible.
“(I want to) make sure I’m in great condition, make sure my body is feeling great, make sure everything is ready to go,” he said.”I did some running yesterday. I did some lifting yesterday and today. So that’s what we’ll do.”
Canty started all 20 regular season and postseason games at right defensive tackle for the Giants in 2011 and was an anchor in the middle of the defense. In his absence, Rocky Bernard has lined up with the first team next to Linval Joseph. Veteran Shaun Rogers, Marvin Austin (last year’s second-round draft choice who did not play a down because of a pectoral injury) and seventh-round rookie Markus Kuhn are among those also vying for jobs at defensive tackle.
Entering his eighth NFL season, and fourth with the Giants, Canty is supportive of his fellow defensive linemen. But he’d prefer to be there for them in uniform.
“It’s tough anytime you can’t go out there and be out there with your teammates,” he said. “I’m here, but at the same time it’s kind of like I’m not able to go out on the field and work with the guys, kind of establish that rapport and let that relationship of working together, get a chance to gel with the guys and that kind of thing. I’m disappointed I’m not going to have that opportunity right now in camp. This is the first time I haven’t started a camp on time in my pro career. It’s disappointing.”
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Terrell Thomas isn’t one to set the bar low. From day one since tearing his ACL last preseason – for the second time of his football career – the cornerback pledged to return to his old form in 2012.
Now he’s applying that same standard for the entire secondary, which he thinks has flown under the radar.
“I think we’re going to make a statement this year,” Thomas said before Friday’s practice. “I think we’re tired of being the underdog on the defense. Obviously our front four is the big thing, but we help them out a lot and vice versa. Antrel Rolle is a Pro Bowl player and obviously Corey Webster should have been a Pro Bowl-caliber guy. Kenny [Phillips] has been solid, and we have a bunch of young guys ready to play. And I think we’re excited for the challenge to prove a lot of people wrong.”
The 2011 championship run was full of highs and lows, and the secondary became a scapegoat during the four-game losing streak in the heart of the season. But injuries ravaged the entire defense, which eventually pieced it together down the stretch.
“It’s something that we dealt with every year, unfortunately,” Thomas said, referring to the effect of injuries. “Hopefully we can stay healthy this year. We have a lot of depth and great players. I think we see the potential on paper. It starts today to build on that.”
Before the season-ending injury last year, Thomas’ numbers improved each of his first three seasons in the league. That set up 2011 to be a career year for the former second-round draft pick, but just because it turned into a lost season doesn’t mean he can’t find it once again.
“Expectations are same as I had last year,” Thomas said. “I set the goal high for myself. I kicked my butt this offseason to come back in the same form I was last year. I feel I’m almost there. I’m using training camp as a time to condition myself back into football shape. As far as the weight room aspect with my knee being strong and all that, I have full belief in my knee. Now I’ve got to get back to becoming a great football player.”
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