Usually it's the other way around. An injured player expresses unyielding optimism about playing in a game, only to be proved wrong by coaches and the medical staff. But this time, although the rest of the Giants believe he'll be at full throttle come Sunday, it's Antrel Rolle hitting the brakes.
"Right now, I can't say it's a for-sure thing," the safety said after missing practice Thursday. "In my mind, am I going to play on Sunday? Yeah. But God willing, hopefully everything goes as planned and my knee feels good enough to go out there on Sunday, and I will be out there."
Rolle injured himself Sept. 20 against the Panthers when he crashed into a sideline camera and banged his left knee into the lens, causing a bruise and a laceration. He was limited Wednesday and felt some soreness afterward. An MRI on Wednesday showed no damage other than the bruise.
"Nicks and bruises, things of that nature, really doesn't bother me too much," he said. "But you can't run without your knees, so that's a little bit more serious . . . If I can give 90 percent, 85 percent on Sunday, I think that will be good enough for me playing the safety position. I'm just trying to get as healthy as I can before that time."
Rolle, who has not missed a game since the regular-season finale with the Cardinals in 2009, when he had a hematoma in a quadriceps, seems to be the only one who is concerned about his availability. Defensive coordinator Perry Fewell was virtually certain that Rolle will play, and backup Stevie Brown, who would start if Rolle were unable to go, was just as sure. Said Brown, "There's nothing that keeps him down."
Perhaps that's why this injury seems to have Rolle shaken. He's an every-snap, every-practice, every-game guy. Missing practice Thursday, he said, was almost torturous. "I think that bothers me right now more than anything," he said.
Rolle is one of several injury issues facing the Giants' secondary. Cornerback Jayron Hosley seems likely to miss the game with a hamstring injury and cornerback Corey Webster will play with a cast on his broken right hand. Prince Amukamara will get his first NFL start against the Eagles.
Meanwhile, the Philadelphia offense is getting healthier. Jeremy Maclin, who missed last week's game with a hip injury, has practiced fully all week.
Rolle said he could play Sunday without practicing if need be. And while he may be hedging his words, he fully expects that to be the case.
"I'm a guy who goes out there ride or die," he said. "I'm going to go out there and at least give it a shot. That's the best I can ask for at this time, the most I can ask for."