ALBANY, N.Y. -- Sunday was supposed to be the day Kenny Phillips received the green light to get back on the football field.
Instead, Phillips' surgically-repaired left knee is still stuck in park. The safety will watch the New York Giants' first practice of 2010 from the sideline, as the team takes it very slow with Phillips' knee.
"I'm just waiting for them to give me the go-ahead," Phillips said outside the players' cafeteria. "It was kind of tough [not being able to practice]. That was my goal, start of training camp. I don't think I am going to miss too much time. So I'm not too much disappointed."
Phillips was one of four Giants who did not participate in the team's camp-opening morning conditioning drills. The safety and guard Kevin Boothe (pectoral) are both on the physically unable to perform list. Running back Ahmad Bradshaw (feet and ankle) and newly acquired middle linebacker Keith Bulluck (knee) also were held out of the conditioning drills in the morning for precautionary reasons. Bulluck was slated to participate in the afternoon practice.
Phillips can come off the PUP list at any point in the preseason, and he didn't sound like a man who was going to be on it for very long. The safety has been so incredibly positive throughout the rehab process that he makes Richard Simmons look pessimistic.
On Sunday Phillips remained upbeat, but he did refrain from setting any kind of timetable for his return.
"No, I kind of have an idea but I'm tired of making predictions so I will just leave it alone," Phillips said with a smile.
Head coach Tom Coughlin said last week that the team is just being extra cautious when it comes to their prized safety. Phillips reiterated that he has suffered no setbacks or any swelling in the knee.
Coughlin expects Phillips to begin practicing in a week or two.
"Honestly I feel real good about it," Phillips said. "It's tested, not football-tested, but as far as cutting and doing drills and running, I have been doing this for almost the whole offseason so I am not worried about that or being in any pain when I do start."
Safety Antrel Rolle, a mentor to Phillips, has repeatedly told his good friend not to rush back. He wants Phillips to take things real slow -- think slower than an Albert Haynesworth 300-yard shuttle time.
Rolle wouldn't blame Phillips if he waited until the leaves change colors to come back. The Giants signed both Rolle and Deon Grant, who will be a starter until Phillips returns.
"I told Kenny to take his time," Rolle said. "The last thing you want is a reoccurring injury, or pushing it too fast. It is going to prolong the process. Make sure you are 150 percent by the time you come back. For as long as it takes. You don't need to make it for the beginning of the season. The season doesn't really start until late October anyway."
No matter how long the wait is, Phillips vows that he will play again.
"No doubt at all," Phillips said. "I feel good. I have worked so hard to get to where I am at now. Just watching myself on film, doing the drills and everything, I feel real good. I'm not even worried about it."
Ohm Youngmisuk covers the Giants for ESPNNewYork.com.