A week ago, the news on New York Giants cornerback Terrell Thomas was not good. The team announced last week that Thomas had suffered an injury to his twice-surgically-repaired ACL and likely would have arthroscopic surgery to determine how bad it was. But as Adam Schefter reported in the wake of that news, the doctors to whom Thomas was talking were optimistic that the ligament was not torn again. And apparently, Dr. James Andrews concurs.
Giants coach Tom Coughlin told reporters at the team's training camp in Albany on Monday that, after Thomas' visit to Andrews, the decision has been made not to do the surgery and instead to rehab the knee. Thomas will return to camp to do that, and there's currently no timetable for a potential return.
Now, what does this mean? Obviously, it means there's a chance Thomas can play and help the Giants this year, which is good news for them and certainly an improvement over the way the situation looked a week ago. A third tear of the ACL would have ended Thomas' season and possibly his career. So Thomas and the team have reason to be relieved about this development.
But this doesn't mean you can expect Thomas back on the field any time soon, and it's obviously no sure thing that he'll be able to play and help the Giants this year. He and they must obviously be extremely cautious for fear of tearing that ligament again, and his rehab from the current issue is likely to be slow, deliberate and susceptible to all manner of a potential setback.
The ultimate conclusion is that Thomas is going to be a question mark for the Giants all year. They don't know if or how much he'll be able to play. They don't know how reliable his knee is going to be if and when he does play. His comeback from the ACL tear that cost him his 2011 season is ongoing and, apparently, far from complete. The Giants have enough depth at cornerback that they can cover a Thomas absence, especially if 2011 first-round pick Prince Amukamara can get/stay healthy and take a big step forward in his development. But they were hoping they could count on Thomas to return to his role as a top starting cornerback opposite Corey Webster, and it is apparent that they cannot.