EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- For the second time in four days, the New York Giants have lost one of their projected starting offensive linemen to an injury. The Giants announced that veteran David Diehl, who began camp as the projected starting right tackle, will have surgery Wednesday afternoon to repair instability in his right thumb and be out six weeks while he recovers.
That six-week timetable means Diehl would miss at least the first four games of the regular season.
Starting center David Baas suffered a knee sprain in Sunday's preseason game against the Colts, and the team is saying he'll need three to six weeks to recover from that. So the Giants are facing the very real possibility of opening the season Sept. 8 in Dallas -- and possibly playing the entire month of September -- without two of their projected starters on the offensive line.
"We'll be fine," guard/center Kevin Boothe asserted Wednesday afternoon, shortly after the Diehl news broke. "Obviously, Dave's injury is a tough one, but we'll regroup. Unfortunately, we've had experiences with guys going down, so we'll respond."
With Baas out of the practice lineup Tuesday, the Giants used Boothe at center, Diehl at left guard and first-round draft pick Justin Pugh at right tackle. It remains to be seen whether, with Diehl now out, Boothe will return to his original left guard position and leave center to Jim Cordle or whether the Giants will leave Boothe at center and use someone like James Brewer or Brandon Mosley at left guard. I have to think Brewer at guard is the most likely solution, since Boothe is their best healthy center right now and that's the more vital position. But we'll know more when they line up for practice Wednesday afternoon.
The offensive line is suddenly a major question-mark area for the Giants, especially when you consider that Pugh is a rookie who hasn't had much practice time and veteran right guard Chris Snee is still working his way back from offseason hip surgery. The protection of quarterback Eli Manning is the highest priority on offense for the Giants, and this week has made it much more challenging.