ALBANY, N.Y. -- New York Giants cornerback Terrell Thomas is scheduled to meet with Dr. James Andrews on Tuesday in Pensacola, Fla., to determine the severity of the injury to his surgically repaired right ACL.
But doctors who have examined Thomas so far do not believe he has a torn ACL and are optimistic he may play again this season, a source familiar with the situation told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter.
Giants coach Tom Coughlin said he still holds out hope his cornerback can play this season but admitted his optimism is somewhat guarded by what he already knows about Thomas' knee.
"His knee is going to require some time," Coughlin said. "It is not likely tomorrow morning something is going to happen. I'm always going to hope (for the best). I have enough information, though, to counter some of that hope. I will always hold out hope."
Thomas slipped while trying to cover Domenik Hixon on Sunday. He experienced swelling in the knee on Monday morning and underwent an MRI. One source on Monday said Thomas was believed to have suffered a partially torn ACL pending further tests.
Thomas traveled to the West Coast to consult with Dr. Arthur Ting, who performed surgery on him after he tore his ACL in a preseason game last August against the Chicago Bears. Thomas also tore the same ACL in 2005 while at USC.
Coughlin expressed frustration with the fact that he has had several players tear their ACLs multiple times in recent years.
Hixon, linebacker Clint Sintim, and cornerback Brian Witherspoon all have torn their ACLs twice in consecutive years. Redskins linebacker Jonathan Goff tore his ACL this week after attempting a comeback from a torn ACL suffered last fall when he was with the Giants.
And now Thomas has reinjured his ACL nearly a year after tearing it in a preseason game.
"I would like to know what the medical answer is," Coughlin said. "What's the story with a repeated ACL and where the ligament comes from in terms of the projections going forward because we have had a couple of these.
"I can ask our own doctors but I am talking about from a research standpoint, has there ever been enough information (on) something like this."
Coughlin said the team was very careful with protecting injured players such as Hixon and Thomas. Sintim is on the physically unable to perform list. Tight end Travis Beckum also is on the PUP list with a torn ACL.
Thomas was cleared by doctors to practice without limitations when camp started last week.
"How much play did Terrell get (in practice)?" Coughlin asked. "Not much. (Also) Terrell is bordering on a year (since tearing his ACL). Plus, really when you watch the number of snaps he had in practice, there weren't that many. It is incredible with one play. It was a slip and a fall."
The Giants signed Thomas to a four-year, $28 million free agent contract in March, but it is a low-risk, high-reward deal. He reportedly got a guaranteed $1 million signing bonus. The team has a $6 million option on Thomas next March.
"I'm devastated for him," Hixon said. "People say, 'Stay healthy.' What does that mean? You work out every day, try to do the right thing recovering. The leg workouts you do while you're recovering are just outrageous. When me and him were working out together and the things we were doing, you're coming back, to me, stronger and something like that happens, that's tough. My heart goes out to him."
If Thomas is sidelined, Prince Amukamara, Michael Coe, Justin Tryon, Jayron Hosley and Bruce Johnson are among the candidates to replace him as a starter. The Giants would like to see Amukamara, last year's first-round draft pick, emerge.
Rolle did that last year after the Giants lost Thomas, Johnson, Witherspoon, Coe and Tryon to injuries.
Merritt had a conversation with Rolle two days ago and told the safety the Giants wanted him to get more reps against the slot. Rolle said that wasn't a problem.
"And then of course, after the Terrell Thomas situation, I went back to him again," Merritt said. "I said, 'OK, Antrel, you need to think of yourself as a starter at that position.' He said, 'Whatever it takes.' His ability to be able to play on the slot, in the box as a deep-field safety ... it's something that you just don't have on each team."
The Giants, though, used Rolle against slot receivers while often playing three safeties with veteran Deon Grant last season. Grant remains unsigned and the Giants' third safety on the roster, Tyler Sash, was just suspended four games for violating the NFL's performance-enhancing drugs policy.
Merritt said the Giants could use a linebacker, such as Jacquian Williams or Keith Rivers, to play the Grant role from last year when Rolle is in the slot, unless there are three receivers on the field. Or they could go with one of their cornerbacks on a slot receiver if one emerges.
"We won a Super Bowl with that one," Merritt said of using Rolle on slot receivers. "So it wasn't too bad."