Jake Ballard said this offseason that it was unlikely he would be able to play in 2012 after having microfracture surgery and an ACL reconstruction on the same knee. On Monday, the Giants agreed with him.
Ballard was waived after failing his pre-minicamp physical on Monday. While it spells a certain end to his 2012 season, it may not be the end of his Giants career. The Giants can sign him back after he clears waivers. At that point he would be placed on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list -- and ultimately injured reserve -- and would not count against the team's 90-man roster. With a hard roster limit of 90, had Ballard gone directly to IR he would have counted against the number and the Giants need a healthy body to participate in practices.
That body wound up being veteran defensive tackle Rocky Bernard, who has played for the Giants the last three seasons.
"Thanks for love everyone but don't worry, it's a business," Ballard posted on his Twitter account. "I'm on the road to recovery, and I believe I'll be in a Giants uniform in '13."
Ballard injured his knee in the victory over the Patriots in Super Bowl XLVI in February. He tried to test the knee after being taken off the field but it buckled on the sideline and may have possibly led to further damage.
Unlike Ballard, Travis Beckum's knee rehabilitation seems to be going well. He'll likely start training camp on the PUP list, but is expected to be healthy enough to play at some point in the 2012 season.
The Giants made efforts to add tight ends this offseason knowing that Ballard and Beckum would be unavailable at least for a portion of the season. Including Beckum, the Giants enter minicamp with seven tight ends including free-agent acquisition Martellus Bennett and fourth-round draft pick Adrien Robinson.