Mathias Kiwanuka said he experienced several stingers and burners the year he returned from a neck injury.
"The first year coming back was tough," he said. "It was a tough adjustment. Some symptoms that continued on, but it's been awhile since I've had those same kinds of symptoms so I feel good about where I'm at now."
That may be the best sliver of hope for David Wilson to grab onto since he left practice on Tuesday with a burner. Wilson, the 23-year-old running back, had his vertebrae surgically fused six months ago and was cleared for full contact only last week at the start of training camp. He'll be re-evaluated on Monday and there is a strong possibility that he will never play football again.
Kiwanuka's injury was in the same area of the body as Wilson's, but it was far less complicated. Where Wilson required surgery and was diagnosed with spinal stenosis, Kiwanuka's herniated disc healed on its own with time.
"Every doctor who told me I couldn't come back finally signed off," Kiwanuka said of how he knew he could go back on the field. "At the end, that's what you do. I'm not a medical professional so I can't look at an MRI or look at an X-ray and say 'OK, this is good' or 'this is not,' but you have to trust the personnel that you have in place. Here in New York, there are obviously great doctors but [the Giants] don't take any risks. They flew me around to see all the different doctors that were the leaders in their specialty and putting all the heads together is how we came up with the diagnosis."
Despite those early burners, Kiwanuka has played without incident for the past three seasons and is entering his fourth since sitting out most of 2010. He said he spoke with Wilson briefly after the running back re-injured his neck on Tuesday.
"Obviously what happened was disappointing," Kiwanuka said. "I don't know the extent of everything that's going on. I'm just praying for him and hoping for the best. I know that it's a difficult injury to really recover from 100 percent but I trust 100 percent in the doctors. They got me through it. I don't know how similar [our injuries] are, but I believe that if any organization can bring a guy through it, it would be the Giants."