Antrel Rolle thought it might be something more than a sprain.
"To be honest, I didn't really know what to expect," the safety said of the play Monday in which he fell and injured his ankle. "I tried to get up and walk off but I just couldn't bear it. 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."
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Rolle said Tuesday that tests showed the injury to be a sprain -- "A pretty good sprain," as he put it, but not a dreaded high-ankle sprain -- that will keep him sidelined without a timetable for return. At least not officially. In reality, the clock continues to count down to the regular-season opener Sept. 8 against the Cowboys, and there is a chance that Rolle will not be back in time for it . . . even if he refuses to acknowledge that scenario.
Rolle, who was wearing a gray protective boot on his right foot Tuesday, has not missed a game in his Giants career and has missed only one since his rookie season in 2005. He doesn't plan on missing that one, either.
"Oh no, no," he said. "I'm going to do whatever it takes to make sure that is not even a possibility. Treatment two times, three times, four times a day, whatever it takes, I'm going to do it."
That doesn't mean that the Giants are not bracing themselves for the impact of beginning their season without two of their best defensive players in Rolle and Jason Pierre-Paul who remains on PUP following offseason back surgery.
"I think you have to be prepared for that scenario, obviously hoping that it won't be true," Justin Tuck said. "[We'll have to] kind of hold the fort until we can get our studs back. That's something we have to be prepared for, but in hindsight, you're wishing that hopefully they have speedy recoveries and get back quickly."
Tom Coughlin certainly is thinking that way. When asked if it is realistic for Rolle to return in time for the opener, he said: "I hope he comes back next week. Why would I talk about Week 1?"
Defensive coordinator Perry Fewell called Rolle "the glue" of the secondary.
"He's one of the building blocks," 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."
For now, that presence will be on the sideline. He'll be replaced by Ryan Mundy, a free agent brought in this offseason from the Steelers.
"We have the guys who can fill in for Antrel," Tuck said. "There's no other Antrel on this football team, but we have guys who can come in and get the job done."
"This is very hard for me to accept, but at the same time, I have to be smart about it," Rolle said. "I'm going to push myself because that is just who I am. I'll push myself with everything that I do to try to be out there with my guys as soon as possible."
Even as he was being carted off, that was Rolle's mind-set.
"When he was out there on the field, he said, 'I'll be fine, I'll be fine, I'll be fine,' " Coughlin said. "He'll do everything he can to get back in. He doesn't like to miss anything and, quite frankly, if he can possibly avoid it, he misses nothing. Which is a good attitude."