Coughlin: Phillips' injury isn't career-threatening

September, 25, 2009
9/25/09
2:58
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Matt Mosley


Speaking to reporters for the first time since Giants safety Kenny Phillips was placed on injured reserve Thursday, Giants coach Tom Coughlin was asked whether he was "absolutely convinced" that Phillips would play football again. Phillips has a knee condition called patellofemoral arthritis, which is normally seen in older people. Here's how Coughlin responded:

"I am, yeah," Coughlin said of Phillips' eventual return. "First of all, what we have done is in the best interest of the player and the New York Giants because we feel like this young man has an outstanding future. Now you know that I don’t have a medical degree, right?"

Coughlin said he wasn't a "happy camper" when he received news earlier this week that Phillips would likely have to be shut down for the season. He said Phillips has been pretty "emotional" about having to miss the season.

"Well, he is very emotional about it," Coughlin said. "He expected to play and wanted to play. And he is playing well. And he is very upset that it wasn’t the direction that this was to go in. And he fully understood the management part of it. And obviously he could do it, played well in the game with it. So he is very emotional about it. And as I said -- and I have tried to be consistent with this -- the first thing that I say is our concern is about the player -- the player’s health and his emotional well being and all of those things. We want to be there for him -- to support him. And I’m talking about our team, our players, and everyone. And then we want to have the circumstances corrected and want to put a smile back on his face and get him back out on the field playing the game that he loves to play."

Just reading between the lines, it sounds like Phillips could have tried to make it through the season, but that may have compromised his future. The Giants realize that Phillips is one of the best young safeties in the league and they'd rather take the hit now than possibly sacrifice his future.

In other injury news, Coughlin isn't ruling out Justin Tuck (shoulder) for Sunday's game against the Bucs. A source close to the situation told me that it will be a coach's decision because Tuck is lobbying pretty hard to play. Wide receiver Domenik Hixon (knee) and Kevin Dockery (hamstring) are also questionable for Sunday's game.

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