After thumb surgery, Diehl out six weeks

Last updated: August 22. 2013 3:27PM - 1003 Views
TOM CANAVAN AP Sports Writer

New York Giants David Diehl looks on during the second half against the Indianapolis Colts last week in East Rutherford, N.J. The Giants announced Wednesday that Diehl will need surgery to repair an unstable right thumb.
New York Giants David Diehl looks on during the second half against the Indianapolis Colts last week in East Rutherford, N.J. The Giants announced Wednesday that Diehl will need surgery to repair an unstable right thumb.
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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — For the second time in as many days, the New York Giants have shuffled their offensive line because of an injury.

A day after being moved from right tackle to left guard, veteran David Diehl was forced to have surgery on his right thumb on Wednesday. He hurt it on Sunday against Indianapolis and had expected to play with his hand in a cast.

The pain and doctors changed those plans, and the line — just three days before the annual preseason game between the Giants (1-1) and Jets (1-1) at MetLife Stadium.

Kevin Boothe, who moved to center on Tuesday because of a knee injury to David Baas, was moved back to left guard. Jim Cordle, who had replaced Baas in the game, was back at center with the starting unit, which also includes Will Beatty at left tackle and first-round draft pick Justin Pugh at right tackle.

“The doctor felt like he really needed to have the thumb corrected so he could go forward,” coach Tom Coughlin said of the 32-year-old who is entering his 11th season. “He has been in a lot of pain. He is a tough guy. You’d never even know it until the doctor jumped in.

“He’ll get this fixed and he will be back.”

The best guess is that Diehl will be sidelined six weeks, although Coughlin was relying on the doctors for the estimate.

“appreciate all the tweets, support, &prayers from all of you. A Setback is a setup for a Comeback. You know I’ll work to come back ASAP,” Diehl tweeted Wednesday afternoon.

Entering his third season with the Giants, Cordle has never started a regular-season game. His promotion to the first team comes a day after the coaches revamped the line instead of simply moving him from the backup center to starter. However, the coaches made that move to get Pugh into the lineup — and their best five offensive linemen on the field.

“He played well the other night,” Coughlin said of Cordle. “We thought that was the best move for now.”

The downside — looking down the road to the season opener at Dallas Sept. 8 — is the Giants will have two new starters on the line.

“It’s time to go figure it out, that’s for sure,” Coughlin said, adding he hopes the final two preseason games offer the line a chance to learn and grow cohesive as a unit.

Diehl practiced on Tuesday with a cast on his right hand, and didn’t seem concerned, saying he has done it before. After an MRI and examination by Dr. Robert Hotchkiss Wednesday morning, it was determined the injury required surgery.

“Obviously Dave’s injury is a tough one,” Boothe said before practice. “If anybody can play through it, Dave can. For it to be that significant, it’s something that needed attention now. We’ll regroup. Unfortunately we’ve had experiences of guys going down and we’ll respond.”

Diehl is coming off a disappointing 2012. And though he worked hard in the offseason to get his form back, he struggled Sunday vs. the Colts.

The Giants had hoped that moving him inside would help, because he would not have to contend with the speed rush from the outside. That would, they thought, allow him to use his brute strength in straight-ahead blocking.

Pugh is more athletic than Diehl, and it was obvious the Giants wanted to get him going as soon as possible.

“I didn’t jump up and down, but I was pretty excited when I heard the news,” Pugh said. “You just have to go out there and execute. I got some texts from friends and family congratulating me, as soon as I got out of meetings everyone else had already known I was in, they probably knew before I even knew.

“It’s something that you just kind of take it and you run with it. It’s a great opportunity for me to get some experience.”

Cordle was not available after the Giants announced Diehl’s injury. However, he said something on Tuesday that was appropriate.

“It’s always good to have one group out there, but as you know, things can change quickly,” he said. “You can work one group — like this past week — and in the second or third play of the game, they’ll send us out. I think it’s also important to work a bunch of different combinations and get a bunch of guys used to playing with one another also.

“You could look at it both ways.”

Boothe said change is something offensive linemen expect. During the 2011 Super Bowl season, he started at three different positions in three weeks because of injuries.

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