- Matt Ehalt, ESPN New York contributor
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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- It's almost here for Andre Brown.
His season debut. His first carry of 2013. His first home game. It's all so close for the running back.
"Very excited. Can't wait. Anxious. Nervous. Just looking forward to it," Brown said. "And I can't wait."
Brown will play in his first game since Nov. 25, 2012, when the Giants host the Raiders on Sunday at MetLife Stadium. Brown is returning from a broken left leg he suffered during the preseason.
"There's no pressure. I'm just looking forward to looking good coming off an injury. Make a couple of plays and help this team go out there and get a win. That's what it's about," Brown said. "My performance -- I understand it's going to be the first game back, and whatever happens, happens. I just know it's going to be 100 percent, full-throttle, and that's what I can guarantee."
The expectation coming into the year was Brown would handle most of the third-down work and passing downs, as well as goal-line work. That plan never came to fruition, though, as Brown broke his left leg in the final preseason game against the Patriots. Since Brown did not need surgery, the Giants placed him on IR with the return designation, using up their lone exemption on him.
Last season, Brown had his best year as a pro as he rushed 73 times for 385 yards and eight touchdowns. His season ended prematurely as he broke his left fibula against the Packers in late November. Brown held out hope he could return for the Super Bowl, but the Giants didn't make the playoffs.
Without Brown, and with David Wilson struggling before landing on IR, the Giants' running game hasn't been able to get going this season. The Giants are 29th in rushing yards per game, and they have used five different starters at running back thus far. Brown could make it six, but he said he does not know yet whether he will start Sunday, as that is usually determined the day before.
"I'm preparing for anything," Brown said. "I've been practicing for a couple of weeks. In shape and ready to go."
Since being drafted by the Giants back in 2009, it's been a rough journey for Brown in the NFL. He's been waived by five different teams, including the Giants, and has dealt with various injuries, including an Achilles tendon tear his rookie season. His broken leg is yet another example of the misfortune he's had.
Giants coach Tom Coughlin appreciates the resiliency Brown has shown.
"It’s obvious how important it is to him. He did everything he could to get back out here and he’s had three really good weeks of practice where he’s gotten better each day out here," Coughlin said. "I mean he hasn’t played in a while. You always think, No. 1, you’ve got to take care of the ball. He hasn’t been hit and he hasn’t been tackled, so you’ve got to take care of the ball. But hopefully he’ll be able to do that."