Thumb surgery to sideline David Diehl 6 weeks

David Diehl stands at the line of scrimmage

David Diehl stands at the line of scrimmage during a game against the Dallas Cowboys in Arlington, Texas. (Oct. 28, 2012) (Credit: AP)

Another day, another shuffle to the Giants' offensive line.

This time it was a maneuver to replace David Diehl after the tackle-turned-guard underwent surgery Wednesday to repair a capsule injury in his right thumb. He's expected to miss at least six weeks.

On Tuesday the group had to be reconfigured to accommodate the absence of center David Baas, who suffered a sprained MCL.

The newest version of the line has rookie Justin Pugh at right tackle, Kevin Boothe back at left guard after a day at center, and fourth-year player Jim Cordle, who has little regular-season game experience, at center. It was Cordle who replaced Baas in the game on Sunday but was skipped over in the first revision.

"Cordle played very well the other night and we thought that was the best move for now,'' coach Tom Coughlin said. "Hopefully, he'll keep right on going.''

Even if he does, it means the Giants will likely open the regular season on Sept. 8 against the Cowboys with two of their five linemen making their first NFL starts.

"It's time to go figure it out, that's for sure,'' Coughlin said. "We have two games to play and hopefully they can have a lot of things occur on the field that we can take care of and learn while doing it right instead of causing problems for other areas.''

Such as not getting Eli Manning killed in the next two preseason games.

Cordle may be inexperienced, but he'll have plenty of help from either side. When he filled in for Baas on Sunday, he also inherited the job of making the blocking calls. Or at least he thought he did.

"When I'm with the ones, I can't get the line calls out fast enough,'' the fourth-year player said. "[Guards] Boothe and [Chris] Snee are making the call. When I'm with the second group, they're waiting on me to make the call. Those guys are making calls before I can even get up to the line.''

Pugh, meanwhile, spent his second day as a starting lineman Wednesday.

"I was pretty excited when I heard the news,'' the first-round pick said of his promotion. "You just have to go out there and execute. I got some texts from friends and family congratulating me. As soon as I got out of meetings, everyone else had already known I was in, they probably knew before I even knew. It's something that you just kind of take it and you run with it. It's a great opportunity for me to get some experience.''

Diehl's surgery came as a surprise. He wore a protective cast on the hand Tuesday and practiced with the injury.

"I got hurt during the game but I will be all right,'' Diehl said Tuesday. "I've played through everything once before already.''

On Tuesday, Coughlin went so far as to call the injury a "nuisance thing.'' After an MRI and examination by Dr. Robert Hotchkiss at the Hospital for Special Surgery in Manhattan Wednesday morning showed instability in the joint, though, Diehl was operated on.

"The doctor felt like he really needed to have his thumb corrected so that he could go further,'' Coughlin said Wednesday. "He's been in a lot of pain. He's a tough guy and you'd never even know it until the doctor kind of jumped in. He'll get this fixed and he'll be back.''

Until then -- and maybe beyond then depending on how well they perform -- the Giants will move forward with this latest permutation of players.

"Regardless of who plays, we'll be fine,'' Boothe said. "We'll regroup. Unfortunately, we've had experiences with guys going down, so we'll respond.''

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