Ahmad Bradshaw grimaced with every step, hobbling his way from the showers through the Giants' locker room. His destination -- his corner locker next to Eli Manning's -- seemed so close, but ultimately just out of reach.
Bradshaw made a quick detour, limping toward the empty seat in front of Bear Pascoe's locker. And there he sat, sighing heavily during his brief respite from the pain.
The sore right foot that forced Bradshaw to miss almost the entire third quarter of Sunday's 20-17 win over Miami had forced him to stop just a few lockers short of his goal. But when he spoke to reporters a short time later, he downplayed the severity of his injury and refused to harp on his history of foot ailments.
Bradshaw blamed this latest setback -- which occurred during the first drive of the third quarter for the Giants, who trailed 17-10 at the time -- on the screw surgically inserted in his right foot. And through it all, Bradshaw insisted he was fine and that he's no stranger to pain.
"I got a screw in my right fifth metatarsal, maybe two years ago, two Februarys ago," said Bradshaw, who in 2010 had three surgeries to put a screw in each foot for a crack in the bone and to remove irritating bone spurs from his right ankle. "I think just the head of it's aggravating right now. That's about it. I think it'll be fine. I think I just fell on it or something."
He rushed for 50 yards on 13 carries and caught five passes for 38 yards but was visibly hobbled late in the game. And his injury only magnified the struggles of Brandon Jacobs, who mustered only 10 yards on four carries.
"It felt good to be back in action," said Jacobs, who recently voiced displeasure about his lack of use. "Things didn't go quite the way I needed them to go."
Asked to elaborate, he snapped: "I'm not blowing up my problems. We're talking about a win."
Bradshaw, who twice was taken back to the locker room, returned to the bench with three minutes to go in the third quarter and sat with his retaped foot propped up. With 34 seconds left in the quarter, he stood up and tested out his right foot. But he was taken back to the locker room just before the third quarter ended.
He returned in the fourth and helped set up Victor Cruz's 25-yard touchdown reception with an 11-yard run that put the Giants at the Miami 40. But Bradshaw was far from agile. Nevertheless, he said he had no doubt he'll return to action against the Patriots on Sunday.
"I'm tougher than that,'' he said. "It was just the foot. I'd cut it off if I could. I knew it was fine, just being cautious about it."