Antrel Rolle in walking boot

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- New York Giants safety Antrel Rolle said he suffered a sprained ankle, but nothing more severe than that, and he hopes to return before the preseason is over.

"It is a pretty good sprain," Rolle said Tuesday. "I always say if I can't get up and walk off on my own, it is pretty bad. For right now, just from yesterday to today, it feels 10 times better.

"There is no time frame at this moment -- but as soon as possible. Try to get out there before preseason is over with and take it one day at a time."

Although his right foot is in a protective walking boot, Rolle isn't even thinking about missing the season opener against the Dallas Cowboys on Sept. 8.

"I am going to do whatever it takes to make sure that is not even a possibility," he said. "Treatment two times, three times, four times a day -- whatever it takes, I am going to do it."

Rolle came down awkwardly on his ankle when he got tangled up with tight end Bear Pascoe during a one-on-one coverage drill Monday. He needed help walking before being carted off the field.

"I tried to get up and walk off but I just couldn't bear it," Rolle said. "I couldn't bear it to do it. Did I think it was worse? Possibly, just because I heard a couple of popping sounds in my ankle.

"I think it was just part of my ankle rolling, it was just cracking. Just thank God it is nothing too severe, nothing I can't work through with just a little bit of time and hard work."

Rolle, who said he does not have a high ankle sprain, has led the Giants in tackles for the past two seasons and is a key part of the defense. The nine-year veteran also has emerged as one of the Giants' most vital leaders in the locker room.

"He's one of the building blocks," defensive coordinator Perry Fewell said. "He's a brick. He's always there. He's tough. He's the mortar that seals us. His presence is always valuable for us."

Rolle has missed just one regular-season game in the past seven years due to injury -- and that was in 2009 while with the Arizona Cardinals.

After running into a television cameraman out of bounds last year in Week 3, Rolle kept playing despite saying that his knee "was jacked up for about six, seven weeks strong."

He also has played through two torn rotator cuffs in the past for the Giants.

"I know Antrel," defensive captain Justin Tuck said. "He is a fighter. This will be, hopefully, a quick setback for him and hopefully we get him back on the field soon because he is a huge part of our success ... a guy that really pumps up this team."

The Giants cannot afford to have Rolle sidelined for an extended period of time. They already are without star defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul, who is on the PUP list while recovering from offseason back surgery and hopes to be ready for the season opener.

Ryan Mundy is expected to move up to the first team in Rolle's absence in practices.