The Giants ran out of time on Mathias Kiwanuka and his herniated neck disc on Thursday.
In need of a player to bolster a sagging kick return game, they placed their defensive end on the season-ending injured reserve list. Kiwanuka’s roster spot was immediately filled by former Packers return man Will Blackmon, Kiwanuka’s old Boston College roommate.
Since he came out of the lineup after Week 2, Kiwanuka had always expressed hope that he’d return this year, especially since surgery has not yet been prescribed.
“Like I said before, I felt like, given enough time, I could’ve made it back this season,” Kiwanuka said. “The Giants had to move on, and I had to be OK with it.”
Kiwanuka said he’d be ready for training camp next summer, but that’s a big question right now. Not only is a herniated disk the same injury that last year ended the career of middle linebacker Antonio Pierce, his former teammate, but Kiwanuka’s contract is up. The Giants may not want to re-sign a player with a neck problem.
Blackmon missed all but three games with a knee injury last year. Darius Reynaud’s ranking among the bottom of NFL punt (5.9) and kickoff (18.4) returners made Blackmon’s signing necessary.