The Giants may be down to their third-string option at middle linebacker after the first day of training camp.
They began with projected starter Jon Beason on the PUP list with a foot injury suffered in the spring and only hopeful of returning for Week 1. Then, on Tuesday, his replacement Jameel McClain was carted off the field with a left foot injury. That left Mark Herzlich taking the final series of reps with the first unit at the opening practice.
"We're hoping this is just a matter of a sore foot," Tom Coughlin said of McClain's injury.
The linebacker was experiencing some discomfort that may have been emanating from an issue with his cleat, but since the area of pain was in a tricky spot - near the metatarsal - the Giants wanted to be cautious and carted him off for further examination.
This was the first offseason in almost a decade that the Giants spent free-agent money at linebacker, re-signing Beason and adding McClain. They were expected to be two of the three starters (two of the two when the Giants play in a sub package, which will be most of the time). McClain moved from an outside linebacker to the middle when Beason was injured in OTAs.
The rest of the linebacker group is not as established as the two injured players. Veterans such as Herzlich, Spencer Paysinger and Jacquian Williams are mixed in with rookies such as draft pick Devon Kennard and undrafted free agent Dan Fox.
Coughlin said he is excited by the progress that Beason has been making and noted how rigorous his rehab session was the other day. Now he has to hope that McClain can be back on the field as well.