Giants dealing with back issues

Updated: August 14, 2012, 11:37 PM ET
By Ohm Youngmisuk | ESPNNewYork.com

ALBANY, N.Y. -- The defending Super Bowl champion New York Giants apparently haven't been sleeping very well.

And it has nothing to do with facing the New York Jets, Tim Tebow or the Wildcat on Saturday.

At least five Giants -- offensive tackles Will Beatty and James Brewer, defensive tackles Marvin Austin and Martin Parker, and cornerback Terrell Thomas -- have had back issues during training camp.

We are big humans. Every bed is small. You can't put a damn dinosaur in a twin-sized bed ... all the beds, unless you got a California king, the beds are going to be small to these guys.

-- Giants tight end Martellus Bennett

Multiple players believe the small mattresses at the University of Albany, most of which were provided by the Giants, may have played a role in the back injuries. Some players even brought their own mattresses to camp.

"Yes, I really do," defensive tackle Linval Joseph said when asked if the beds really have something to do with players suffering back injuries. "I really do. Beds.

"I mean, everybody has been complaining about their back because the beds in the dorm are fairly hard. My back be hurting, too. I think it is just the bed."

Tight end Martellus Bennett said his back is fine but admitted the beds on campus are a bit tiny.

"We are big humans," Bennett said. "Every bed is small. You can't put a damn dinosaur in a twin-sized bed ... all the beds, unless you got a California king, the beds are going to be small to these guys. If a normal-sized human jumps into a regular-sized bed, it fits perfectly. A large big human jumps into a regular-sized bed, the bed is too small."

The Giants maintain that no players have complained to them about the mattresses.

While most of their injuries are football-related, the Giants have had some back issues pop up. Beatty had a sciatic nerve condition with his back dating to the offseason and was held out of OTAs and most of minicamp.

But after practicing at the start of training camp, his back issue flared up while here in Albany. Beatty returned to practice on Sunday. His backup, Brewer, also has battled some back issues during camp.

"Those beds are not the best," Brewer said Monday. "I'm not going to knock Albany because hey, it could always be worse, but I definitely do miss my own bed."

"Will's complaining, but at least he has a regular-sized bed," Brewer added. "I have like a little kid's cot, like I'm in college all over again."

A few days before Thomas reinjured his right knee on a slip on the field in coverage, the cornerback was unable to finish a practice due to his back, which locked up on him during practice.

The dorm room beds may not have anything to do with some of these injuries. But one thing is certain, several of these players were sleeping in beds meant for college students.

The Giants have been hit by several injuries in camp, and beds might not have anything to do with most of them.

The biggest injury is to defensive tackle Shaun Rogers, who likely will miss the entire season due to a blood clot in his leg.

Joseph said the plane ride back from Jacksonville might have worsened Rogers' condition.

"To have a blood clot or having a risk happen of a blood clot, that is serious," Joseph said. "They can cut your leg off, a lot of things can happen with that. Thank God it is not a [more serious] blood clot, and hopefully everything will work out with it."

The Giants also said Austin was in Manhattan at the Hospital for Special Surgery to have his back examined. Rogers and Austin were expected to be significant contributors to the defensive line, which already is without starting defensive tackle Chris Canty.

Canty remains on the PUP list while recovering from offseason knee surgery.

"I'm definitely getting better, just the level of activity, what we're able to do, my general feelings about it, not dealing with pain or anything like that," Canty said. "We knew this was gonna be a long process, obviously I didn't think it would be this long but I think we're being smart about it, we're taking the right approach."

The Giants have been hit hard by injuries at defensive tackle. Parker will need surgery for a herniated disk in his back that he may have suffered during the preseason loss to Jacksonville. Joseph, Rocky Bernard, Dwayne Hendricks and Markus Kuhn are the healthy defensive tackles on the roster at the moment, pending Austin's back examination.

The Giants will also be without backup defensive end Justin Trattou for several more weeks due to a heel injury that has kept him sidelined for most of camp.

The Giants' final day in Albany is Tuesday, and the team will spend the rest of camp at its own facility as scheduled. Co-owner John Mara said on Monday that the team would make a decision later this year on whether it will return to Albany for camp in the future.

"I'm ready to go home, lay in my own bed -- California King size with the great comfortable blankets and the feather pillows -- I miss that," Bennett said.

Fortunately, the 6-foot-6 tight end did not hurt his back.

"My back doesn't hurt," Bennett said. "My back feels great. I got great back."

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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