Jordan RaananESPN Writer4 minute read
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — New York Giants tight end Darren Waller doesn’t think the hamstring injury that made him questionable for Sunday’s loss to the Dallas Cowboys is cause for much concern. That certainly won’t keep him from being on the field this week in Arizona.
The Giants, with Waller, will play the Cardinals on Sunday.
“No, I’m playing,” said Waller, who had three catches for 36 yards in his debut.
The biggest concern for the Giants this week is standout left tackle Andrew Thomas. He is also dealing with a hamstring issue and, after missing practice Wednesday, he was on the field in a limited capacity Thursday.
“He’s a tough guy,” coach Brian Daboll said. “He said he wants to do some things and see how he feels.”
Waller practiced Thursday after having a “vet day” on Wednesday. Daboll said that was always part of Waller’s plan after several injury-plagued seasons in Las Vegas.
The Pro Bowl tight end was the Giants’ breakout move this offseason. He is their No. 1 receiver in an offense they expected to be more explosive this season.
The question surrounding Waller since his arrival has been whether he can stay healthy. The Giants are doing everything in their power to make this happen.
Waller arrived in New York with an extensive injury history. He missed eight games last season due to a hamstring injury and has missed 14 games the last two years combined.
Waller admitted Sunday that it’s the same hamstring (his right leg) that kept him out for much of last season. But it’s a different kind of problem. They are not even comparable, he says.
“No, not really just because as far as the severity of last year and the time it forced me to miss, it’s not even close to that,” Waller said. “Last year there were legit times where I couldn’t run because I had a pulled hamstring.
“But I can run in practice (Thursday), run routes and do it for two hours, so I’m like, ‘I feel great.'”
Waller explained after Sunday’s 40-0 loss to the Cowboys that it was more of a nerve issue than a muscle issue. That set off alarm bells for some. But Waller said Thursday that it was a small amount of scar tissue that compressed the nerve and caused some discomfort.
The belief is that it is something that can be managed quite easily.
“It’s a matter of getting those things out of there,” Waller said.
The 6-foot-6, 238-pounder appeared to move unhindered during the open portion of practice Thursday. It seemed to validate that the missed practice the day before was due to rest and not the hamstring.
Waller was listed on Wednesday’s injury report as: did not practice due to hamstring/rest issues. He was officially listed as a limited participant in Thursday’s practice (hamstring/rest).
Daboll plans to rest Waller once a week to ensure he has the best chance of staying healthy. This will mainly be on Wednesdays.
It’s part of the plan (based on sports science) the Giants created for the talented tight end when he was acquired. Waller is on board.
“Yeah, just trust what the coaches have in mind,” he said. “I want to be out there and work. Sometimes, to my own detriment, I break down. It’s good to have a plan and I feel like I’m always going to trust what the coaches and the people above me say. I have to say and their opinions. I’m just going to follow what they want me to do.”
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