Osi Umenyiora returned to practice Wednesday for the first time since he had arthroscopic knee surgery in training camp.
The question now is, when will he come back for game duty?
Giants coach Tom Coughlin took an understandable wait-and-see approach with his fragile 29-year-old defensive end.
“I’m hoping that we can have one good day and then not have any repercussions the next day,“ Coughlin told reporters before Umenyiora took the field for what the Giants described as a limited practice load. “That will help us understand what we’ve got.
“I’d like to have Osi get some practice time. He definitely needs to spend some practice time with his teammates to put himself back in those situations. Perhaps if we’re fortunate enough, we will not have any repercussions.”
Umenyiora did some running last week, but noticed swelling in the knee and had to lay off the remainder of the week.
If the Giants’ leading pass rusher from last year is capable of coming back this week, there is still a question of how cautious the Giants want to be with him for their game against Arizona.
Saving him for the Seattle game next week — the start of a three-game stretch at home — would keep him from a long, potentially irritating plane ride to Phoenix. And it would seem the Giants have the time to spare since his replacement, second-year player Jason Pierre-Paul, now stands a half-sack below the NFC leader DeMarcus Ware of the Cowboys.
Pierre-Paul will go back into rotational duty as soon as Umenyiora returns. But Umenyiora must first show that he can handle a full workload before he takes the game day field again.
Pierre-Paul said he’s not worried about that, though.
“The way I play, when they put me in, I’m going to get a sack, regardless,” Pierre-Paul said. “There are enough snaps that I’m going to get 40 or 50 snaps every game because people do get tired.”