Jake Ballard left the Super Bowl with what he thought was a torn meniscus. It turned out he tore his ACL, which means he'll likely miss the first part of next season.

"Everyone was telling me meniscus and then the MRI and the doc came in with a look on his face and I just knew it wasn't my meniscus," Ballard said Thursday at a memorabilia signing at Steiner Sports in New Rochelle. "It was pretty frustrating."

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Ballard and Travis Beckum both tore their ACLs in the game. Jerry Reese said both will likely start the 2012 season on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list. Reese also said the Giants are high on practice squad TE Christian Hopkins.

Ballard will have surgery on Feb 21 and is expecting a 6-8 month rehab, although he made it clear he does not want to rush back and reinjure himself. "If I have 8-9 months to prepare, I'm fine with that," he said.

Ballard said he tried to run and cut on the sideline but collapsed, as 111 million television viewers saw. "That was probably the worst pain I've ever had in my life," he said.

Physically and emotionally.

"It's the biggest game in anyone's life and I get hurt in it and can't contribute when the game is on the line, it's like a nightmare," Ballard said. "But they came through in the end and we still got that ring."