Two days after he sprained his ankle and was carted off the practice field, Antrel Rolle walked out of the Giants' facility without any noticeable limp and, most remarkably, without the protective boot that he wore on Tuesday.
"Boots," he said, "are for wimps, man."
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Rolle does not consider himself to be a wimp. Nor does anyone else associated with the Giants. Even Tom Coughlin scoffed at the idea of hoping that Rolle returns from the sprain in time for the regular-season opener on Sept. 8.
"I hope he comes back next week," he said.
That was initially thought to be hyperbole, but it may actually happen. Despite suffering what Rolle called the worst pain of his life, he said Wednesday that he feels "a million times better."
"I don't think anything could feel worse than me running into the camera against Carolina," Rolle said of his knee injury last season, "but this definitely topped it."
He did come out on the field for yesterday's practice and said he's aiming to play in another preseason game.
"That's my goal," Rolle said. "I don't know what everyone else's expectations are but if I can play, I will go . . . I'm not the kind of guy that's going to milk an injury."
The Giants may be easing Terrell Thomas back into practice as far as his snap counts go, but they have held nothing back as far as the competition he's facing. Thomas, coming off a third ACL reconstruction, has been working as the team's starting nickel back and that means covering Victor Cruz.
"They wanted to see what I can do," Thomas said.
Cruz said he's been challenged by Thomas as well. "If you didn't know he had surgery, you couldn't tell," he said.