Giants likely minus 2 key players

Updated: December 23, 2011, 5:09 PM ET
By Ohm Youngmisuk | ESPNNewYork.com

New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning will be without his best tight end and might have to face the Jets without one of his top three receivers as well.

Tight end Jake Ballard was officially ruled out with a knee injury, and wide receiver Mario Manningham is listed as doubtful, also with a knee problem, for the Giants' critical game Saturday.

Ballard was expected to miss at least one game with an injury to his posterior cruciate ligament. Manningham said Wednesday he will play against the Jets, but he did not practice this week, and coach Tom Coughlin said Thursday that Manningham experienced swelling in his knee. The Giants say he will be a game-time decision.

If Manningham is unable to play, Victor Cruz will see more of cornerback Antonio Cromartie and perhaps even some of Darrelle Revis. When Manningham is available, Cruz plays some in the slot in three-receiver sets.

Running back Ahmad Bradshaw (foot) and center David Baas (neck) are probable. Baas is expected to start, with Kevin Boothe sliding back to left guard.

Tight ends Travis Beckum (chest) and Bear Pascoe (ribs) are listed as probable and will try to make up for Ballard's absence.

Defensive end Osi Umenyiora (ankle) and linebacker Mark Herzlich were also ruled out, as expected.

Running back D.J. Ware (knee) is listed as questionable after practicing on a limited basis.

Wide receiver Devin Thomas (neck) and safety Derrick Martin (back) are probable.

Ohm Youngmisuk covers the Giants for ESPNNewYork.com.

Ohm Youngmisuk has covered the Giants, Jets and the NFL since 2006. Prior to that, he covered the Nets, Knicks and the NBA for nearly a decade. He joined ESPNNewYork.com after working at the New York Daily News for almost 12 years and is a graduate of Michigan State University.
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