It's not just the football that Ahmad Bradshaw is interested in lugging.
"Any time I can try to carry this team as much as I can, I'll do it," the Giants running back said Thursday. "If they want to put it on my back, I'll take it."
In the last two games, that's what the Giants have done. Bradshaw has become a solo act, taking 57 of the team's 66 carries and playing a remarkable 126 of 140 offensive snaps. Now, as the Giants prepare for the Redskins, he is dealing with a foot injury that has limited him in practice.
It won't limit him in the game, he said. "I'm ready to go," he said. "I'm cool."
The Giants expect nothing less because they've seen him rebound from injuries so often. He's played with stress fractures in both feet, bone spurs in his ankles and all kinds of other injuries that an NFL running back accumulates but go unreported.
His feet have more screws than Aisle 17 at The Home Depot, but he said this foot injury is not related to that chronic condition. He was stepped on late in the 49ers game and needed some time to get over it.
"I've been with him so long, I don't even think about it," offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride said of Bradshaw's injuries.
"I just know he is physically very tough and mentally very tough, so if it's at all possible, he'll fight through it and continue to play. Sometimes he gets to a point where he becomes incapacitated where he just can't function well enough, and that's when he sits down. But he's going to try to do the right thing, he's going to take care of his body and he's going to [play]."
Bradshaw said his toughness comes from his heart and the "love of the game."
"I feel like I can fight through a little bit of everything now with the stuff I've been through," he said. "I feel like I have a lot of fight in me. It's going to take a lot to bring me down. A lot of hits here and there, it ain't gonna do it."
Said Gilbride: "If it's just soreness or just a matter of pain, then he basically has the capacity to just ignore it and just play and play at a high level. And of course we've leaned on him heavily the last couple weeks and he's done a terrific job."
That leaning is expected to continue. Backup Andre Brown, whose concussion led to the increased workload by Bradshaw, has been cleared and is expected to play Sunday. Rookie David Wilson is carving out more and more opportunities for himself on offense. "They'll all have chances," Tom Coughlin said.
But Bradshaw is the Giants' workhorse. When Coughlin was asked if he believes he is ready to resume a full load, he committed to him as he would to a bride: "I do."
Notes & quotes: WR Hakeem Nicks (knee/foot) practiced for the second straight day. He has been limited in both . . . CB Corey Webster (hamstring) and LB Michael Boley (hip) returned to practice and were limited . . . Coughlin said a decision on whether DT Chris Canty (knee) is activated off PUP to play Sunday will come Friday or Saturday . . . DT Rocky Bernard (quadriceps), S Kenny Phillips (knee) and LB Jacquian Williams (knee) did not practice and are unlikely to play . . . Defensive coordinator Perry Fewell was asked if he'd rather face Robert Griffin III when he's running or passing, and he came up with a third option: "I want him on the bench, that's what I would pick."