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Thursday, December 22, 2011
Baas expects to be back as starting center

By Matt Ehalt

New York Giants center David Baas is expecting to return to the starting lineup on Sunday against the Jets after missing the previous three games with a neck injury as well as intense headaches.

"That's my plan," Baas said. "We're still continuing to go out there and practice and go normal routine, check in with the doctors and make sure everything is good. As far as I'm concerned, that's my view that I'm going to be out there."

Baas, who signed a five-year deal team with the team in the offseason, has not played since the Giants opposed the Saints on Nov. 28. He was a late scratch against Green Bay on Dec. 4 with his neck injury and intense headaches. He missed the last two games, despite doing some individual work prior to last week's loss against Washington.

This week, with the Jets on tap on Saturday at 1 p.m. at MetLife Stadium, Baas has practiced all week and has been a limited participant in each of the last two days. While Tom Coughlin said Wednesday he would have to see about Baas' availability, he seemed to indicate on Thursday that Baas would be back at center and Kevin Boothe, who has started the last three games at center, would be sliding to left guard.

"(Boothe) is not very far away, he is right next to him," Coughlin said when asked of Boothe being removed for Baas. "We will be better and we will just keep getting better."

The center reiterated on Thursday that it's been his neck issue that has sidelined him for the last three games and the intense headaches stemmed from the neck issue. He stressed the importance of making sure that he is ready to return to the field and being careful with how he goes about his business. He's not 100 percent but fells well enough to play in the pivotal game against the Jets.

"An injury is an injury but it's a little more significant if it's your neck and your head and you definitely have to take a little bit more time to evaluate that because that's something you definitely want to make sure you have it right," Baas said.

In the last three weeks without Baas, the rushing game has averaged its best output of the season, averaging 100.3 yards per contest and going for at least 90 yards in each of the games. The center expects that he will be able to go back into the lineup and click with the offensive line due to the time he's already spent with the unit.

"When I go back out there it's not like it's going to fall apart. It's a team. There are a lot of different aspects that have to do well for the team to do well," Baas said. "I feel like the guys trust me, I trust myself and I prepare well and I'm a professional. When I go back out there things should be fine, I'm just one guy that is part of a group. I can't change the whole thing but I can be a part of it to help the team win."