- Dan Graziano, ESPN Staff Writer
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The New York Giants' injury situation may have reached the point of absurdity.
Multiple reports have surfaced Tuesday afternoon that Jonathan Goff, the Giants' starting middle linebacker, has a torn ACL and will miss the entire 2011-12 season. ESPN's Adam Schefter reports via Twitter that the team is planning to sign former Giants linebacker Kawika Mitchell to replace him.
This is really ridiculous now, and you have to wonder how much more of this the Giants can possibly take. They've already lost starting cornerback Terrell Thomas and backup linebacker Clint Sintim for the year with ACL injuries. Cornerback and first-round draft pick Prince Amukamara is out for the first month or so with a broken foot. Defensive tackle and second-round pick Marvin Austin is out for the year with a torn pectoral muscle. Defensive end Osi Umenyiora is coming off knee surgery and will miss at least the first week and probably more. And that's just the defensive damage report. On offense, they're reasonably healthy but did lose wide receiver Steve Smith and tight end Kevin Boss to free agency and didn't replace either one.
The Giants have maintained all along that their developmental depth was strong and they would be able to handle injuries, but the fact is their relatively inactive offseason and the injuries that have dogged them since the lockout ended have left them thin at several key spots, none more so now than linebacker. They believed they were set with Goff, Michael Boley and Mathias Kiwanuka as starters, and the four reserve linebackers they kept when they made their cuts Saturday were all rookies. Now, it looks as though they could bring in Mitchell, who played for the Giants in 2007 and for Giants defensive coordinator Perry Fewell in 2008-09 when both were in Buffalo, to add some veteran presence. But Mitchell isn't a middle linebacker. So if he's there to add depth and not to man the middle, you could see a rookie such as Greg Jones or Mark Herzlich get some time at that middle spot, or the Giants might look again to the waiver wire for someone like Keith Bulluck or Lofa Tatupu.
Regardless, five days from the regular-season opener in Washington, the Giants had hoped their rotten injury luck was behind them for this year. There is a lot of talent on their roster, and especially on their defense. But they're reaching the point where you have to wonder if this is too many injuries to overcome. I've never been big on Goff as a starting middle linebacker, but he was their starter. Without him, they will scramble, and likely be worse than they would have been with him. If this was the first of these injuries, it'd be easy to say sure, they can take it. But it's not. Far from it.