The Giants could be without one of their starting safeties when the regular season opens in a little less than four weeks.
Antrel Rolle had to be held up with the support of trainers and carted off the practice field Monday after injuring his right ankle in a drill early in the workout. Initial tests showed an ankle sprain, a source said, but there is no timetable for a return.
"It's an ankle right now," Tom Coughlin said before the initial battery of tests. "It was obviously bothering him, so he's getting checked on . . . Honestly, I didn't see it until I looked over and he was sitting down."
Rolle was covering Bear Pascoe in a one-on-one drill when the two leaped for a pass from Eli Manning and Rolle came down awkwardly. He slowly rose to his feet and hopped to the sideline, where he went back down on the turf in pain.
"They step on each others' feet," Coughlin said. "It's like a rebound drill. They step on each others' feet."
Trainers immediately tended to Rolle. The concern on the faces of defensive coordinator Perry Fewell and fellow safety Stevie Brown, who both squatted near Rolle, was apparent.
Rolle was eventually helped to his feet but needed to lean on trainers to walk to a water cooler about 25 yards away where he sat for a few moments. Soon a cart was used to bring Rolle inside the Giants' facility.
"I'm sure he'll get everything," Coughlin said of the gamut of tests the Giants' medical staff would perform, including an MRI. But Coughlin would not speculate on the seriousness of the injury. "I'm telling you what I know," he said. "The guy got up and left the field. That's all I know."
Rolle has been a leader on the Giants' defense since he arrived with the team in 2010. He has played through various injuries, including ones to his shoulders and knee, and has never missed a regular-season or playoff game for the Giants.
Now the team might have to start the season without another of their best defensive players. The status of Jason Pierre-Paul for the opener is already up in the air as he recovers from offseason back surgery.
Ryan Mundy took Rolle's place at safety on the starting unit with Brown. The Giants have others who can provide depth at the position, including Tyler Sash and Will Hill (although Hill will be suspended for the first four games of the regular season).
"He's a good, sound player," Coughlin said of Mundy, who was signed as a free agent from Pittsburgh this offseason.
But when it comes to the team's options, Coughlin made his preference clear.
"I would much rather have [Rolle]," he said. "Hopefully, it's an ankle and he's coming right back. That's all I know."