Giants running back Andre Brown suffered a small fracture in his left leg in the preseason finale against the Patriots on Thursday night in Foxborough, Mass.
Brown is expected to need four to six weeks to recover, but the Giants can't wait that long. The season starts Sept. 8 in Dallas.
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So the handoffs from Eli Manning that would have gone to Brown instead will end up in the gut of second-year back David Wilson, who was expected to team with Brown in the Big Blue backfield.
Unless the Giants sign a veteran in the next few days -- they are looking -- the 5-10, 205-pound Wilson will be the team's primary ball carrier. Even in the short-yardage situations that were supposed to belong to Brown.
Is Wilson up for it?
"I'm confident and I know I can do it,'' Wilson said Friday. "The main thing is to just go out there and do it. No matter what I think, people are going to judge off what they see, so I have to go out there, put it out there and let the coaches see it, let my teammates see it, and I'll be in that situation more often.''
The first thing Wilson will have to contend with is the belief that he's not big enough to handle the pounding of an every-down back.
"Don't get confused by my size,'' Wilson said. "I'm a physical guy. I'm from the country, so I grew up chopping wood and building houses with my dad. I'm well put together.''
Said Tom Coughlin: "David Wilson runs in there hard. I don't have a problem with that at all. That's not an issue for me. He's powerful. He's compact. He has tremendous leg strength, which is his forte. For him to run the ball in short yardage and goal line, I don't have an issue with that at all.''
Of course, Coughlin almost has to say that; the only other backs on the roster are Da'Rel Scott, Ryan Torain and Michael Cox. The Giants have to shed 22 players by 6 p.m. Saturday to reach the 53-man limit.
Wilson led the Giants this preseason with 179 rushing yards on 24 carries, including an 84-yard touchdown against the Jets. Brown had 27 carries for 103 yards.
Last season, Wilson carried 71 times for 358 yards and four TDs and caught four passes for 34 yards and one score. His main value was as a kickoff returner; he had a 97-yard return for a TD against New Orleans on Dec. 10. But he won't be returning kicks anymore.
"Whatever they want me to do,'' he said. "Like I said when I first came here, whatever the coaches need me to do. If they need me to kick a field goal, I'm going to go out there and give it 100 percent trying to kick a field goal. The carries or the workload, all that, is not a big factor for me. When I'm on the field, I want to be effective and help my team win games.''
Coughlin said Brown could be a candidate for the team's "designated for return'' injured reserve spot, which would make him eligible to play after eight weeks.