David Diehl needs thumb surgery

Updated: August 21, 2013, 6:59 PM ET
By Ohm Youngmisuk | ESPNNewYork.com

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The New York Giants lost their second starting offensive lineman this week, with David Diehl set to undergo surgery to repair his right thumb that will sideline him approximately six weeks, the team said.

Diehl practiced with a cast on his hand Tuesday and thought he would be able to play through the injury. But the veteran underwent an MRI on Wednesday morning, and it was determined he needed surgery.

The Giants said the surgery repaired an "unstable right thumb." A source said Diehl has a capsule injury that is being repaired so he can return at full strength later in the season.

"Dave's injury is a tough one," offensive lineman Kevin Boothe said. "If anybody can play through it, Dave can. For it to be that significant, it is something that needed attention now.

"We will regroup. We have had experience with guys going down. We will respond."

The Giants just shuffled their offensive line after losing starting center David Baas to a left MCL injury during Sunday's preseason game against the Indianapolis Colts. Baas hopes to be back for the season opener, but he could be out for several weeks as the team will evaluate him on a weekly basis.

On Tuesday, the Giants moved Boothe from left guard to center and slid Diehl over from right tackle to left guard. First-round pick Justin Pugh was inserted into the starting lineup at right tackle.

The initial thought was that Diehl would be able to play through the pain in his right thumb.

Diehl said there was nothing broken in his hand, and coach Tom Coughlin even assumed the veteran would be able to play through the injury since Diehl has battled through many injuries before.

"The doctor felt like he really needed to have his thumb corrected so he can go forward," Coughlin said after practice. "He has been in a lot of pain, he's a tough guy and you would never even know it. He will get this fixed and he will be back."

But with Diehl out for more than a month, the Giants will have to reshuffle the line again. During practice on Wednesday, the Giants used backup Jim Cordle at center and moved Boothe back to left guard while keeping Pugh at right tackle.

James Brewer perhaps could be used as the extra lineman in jumbo packages and the backup tackle. Cordle came in for Baas when the starting center went down on the first series against the Colts on Sunday night.

"Cordle played very well the other night, and we thought that was the best move for now," Coughlin said. "For now the option we took is this one."

Another option for Coughlin to consider is to move Brewer in at left guard for Diehl and move Boothe to center. Brewer had been working with the first team early in camp at right guard while Chris Snee made his way off the physically unable to perform list.

Either way, the Giants likely will open the season with two starters on the offensive line with no previous starting experience if Baas and Diehl are not back.

"It's time to go figure it out," Coughlin said. "We have two [preseason] games to play."

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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