X-rays on Ahmad Bradshaw's right hand showed that it wasn't broken. The results on the Giants' rushing attack from Saturday night's second preseason game are far less optimistic.
The starting running back had to leave after the first series when he injured his right hand. Bradshaw said he had been bugged by a cyst on that hand for some time and it popped when it banged against someone's helmet. Although the sight of Bradshaw on the sideline with a bulky, cast-like "compression sock" on his wrist and a black brace on it after the game was unnerving to any Giants fan, Bradshaw said he'll be fine.
"I guess we just popped the cyst or burst the cyst," Bradshaw said. "On one of the runs, I hit it on someone's helmet and it just popped. There was a little pain in it. It feels good. We're just being precautious about it."
Whew. Now the Giants won't have to worry about their running back and instead fret over their running attack.
With Bradshaw sidelined, D.J. Ware stepped into his place. Ware had looked strong last week against the Jaguars but could not move the ball against the Jets' first defensive unit. He managed just 15 rushing yards on 11 carries playing through the first half, and seven of those yards came on one run. He also dropped a screen pass and appeared to miss a block as the Jets tipped a punt.
The Giants came into the season wanting to improve their rushing offense, which was last in the league in 2011. Saturday night's performance by the starters was reminiscent of those struggles with few holes, plenty of stuffs, and little production.
Asked if any running backs stepped up with Bradshaw sidelined, Coughlin paused awkwardly for six seconds to search for an answer. He eventually landed on Da'Rel Scott, who had three carries late in the game, and threw in rookie David Wilson as an afterthought.
"Nothing with consistency," Coughlin said.
The Giants had only 19 rushing yards on 15 carries in the first half, 1.3 yards per carry. There were times when they did move the ball -- fullback Henry Hynoski, who did not have a carry last year, took a fourth-and-1 handoff 2 yards for a first down -- but too many times when they couldn't. Ware's last eight carries went for minus-1 yard, only one of them for positive yardage.
The Giants had to settle for two drives that ended with field goals and their only touchdown of the first half was on defense when Jayron Hosley returned an interception 77 yards.
Not everyone was upset by those numbers. Tackle David Diehl noted that the Giants were facing a blitz-heavy Jets defense that sometimes requires some feeling out in a regular-season game. He also said that the Giants were sticking with basic plays, aka "the vanilla conundrum."
"When you're only playing 11/2 quarters, it's hard to get in a rhythm," Diehl said. "Our cohesiveness amongst not only the offensive line but the tight ends and the receivers stepping up to make blocks down the field, that's an encouraging sign. This is only the second preseason game and I know it's going to keep going in the right direction."
The Giants' first two drives of the game went a combined 102 yards, mostly due to Eli Manning and Victor Cruz connecting. But both drives stalled inside the Jets' 20 and resulted in field goals for a 6-0 lead.
Manning completed 7 of 14 passes for 62 yards -- five of those completions going to Cruz for 51 yards -- but threw one interception and has yet to throw a touchdown pass this preseason.
"I thought we had a couple good drives and moved the ball," Manning said. "We converted some third downs, had some opportunities, but didn't get in the end zone . . . There is definitely still a whole lot for us to work on, but we're making progress."