Steve Smith faces a long road back

New York Giants Pro Bowl wide receiver Steve Smith will undergo mosaicplasty and microfracture surgery on his left knee Tuesday and he'll likely require six to nine months of rehabilitation. The injury couldn't have come at a worse time for a receiver in a contract year.

The Giants will certainly try to keep Smith because he's a valuable player, but there's a chance he'll have to agree to a short-term contract to see how his knee responds. Coach Tom Coughlin told reporters Thursday that he believes Smith will be ready for the start of the 2011 season. But he knows he'll be limited until that point.

"I’m sure there will be restrictions,” Coughlin said. "There’s got to be."

That means that a young receiver such as Ramses Barden (IR) or Victor Cruz (IR) will receive even more work in minicamps and in training camp -- if any of those things take place. As I've said before, the Giants are in much better shape to withstand this type of loss than they were in '08 when Plaxico Burress stepped into the Latin Quarter.