It's getting harder and harder for the Giants to disguise their anxiety about injured running back David Wilson because, according to multiple sources, the team is preparing for the worst.
Wilson will undergo an evaluation of his surgically repaired neck on Monday, and the probability of it yielding good news is minute.
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The exam might not mark a definitive end to Wilson's career. He could be given more time to recover and be re-evaluated at a later date. But it is possible that he will never play again in the NFL.
The Giants are a team known to be conservative when it comes to these types of injuries.
"We handle it with extreme caution," general manager Jerry Reese said in an interview Thursday on ESPN Radio in New York. "That's how anybody should handle it with a neck injury. The player's health is far above anything else . . . We're not going to put him out there until we know one thousand percent that he can be out there."
The 23-year-old running back suffered a burner Tuesday, just a week after he was cleared to return to the practice field and six months after surgery that fused vertebrae in his neck. Wilson also has been diagnosed with stenosis of the spine.
"Until we hear what the doctors bring, I'm just praying that the kid's OK, that's all," coach Tom Coughlin said. "When he was cleared to play and came out and exhibited no fear, no nothing, I was really excited about that. We're obviously concerned."
It's a feeling exhibited by everyone . . . except Wilson.
He did not participate in Thursday's practice. He's resting until Monday's appointment with spine specialist Dr. Frank Cammisa and will miss Sunday's preseason opener, but he was on the sideline in his jersey during the team's workout. He spent the practice smiling, spinning and fidgeting. At one point, he even walked onto the field to rescue an apparently injured bird and was in danger of being trampled by the team.
Wilson also has been posting positive updates about his health on social media in recent days.
"It was good to see him back in the meeting room, bright-eyed, ready to work and go," fellow running back Rashad Jennings said of Wilson's presence with the team Thursday morning.
The Giants would be devastated if they do not have their 2012 first-round pick available to them, but they built their running back group this offseason as if Wilson would not be playing in 2014. They added Jennings as a free agent, re-signed Peyton Hillis and drafted Andre Williams.
"I think we have some talented guys at that spot," Coughlin said. "We'll let this thing play out. There will be some kind of a combination of people involved . . . They'll have plenty of opportunities in the preseason to show us what they can do and where they fit."
"When I signed here and I found out all the guys that were here, the first thing I said was that we have a chance to be a force in the backfield," Jennings said. "It's a bunch of guys that can play. Each one of us very well could be a starter. There's no reason to not have high expectations from the backfield."
Even now, with Wilson in limbo.