Steve Smith will not play again this season for the Giants.
The receiver suffered an articular cartilage injury to his left knee in Monday night’s game against the Vikings and will have surgery soon, the Giants announced this morning. Smith, who had just returned from missing four games with a pectoral muscle, suffered the injury when he was tackled awkwardly from behind in the fourth quarter after his only reception in the game.
The Giants initially described the injury as a hamstring and Smith was seen wincing and limping after the game. An MRI and examination on Tuesday changed that diagnosis.
Smith will be the fifth wide receiver to land on injured reserve this season and certainly the most significant one, following Domenik Hixon, Victor Cruz, Ramses Barden and Sinorice Moss who has already been waived from the injured reserve list. He will be the 12th Giants to have a season-ending injury this year.
A Pro Bowler last year, Smith came back for the Monday night game against the Vikings and was playing the third-receiver role until Mario Manningham suffered his injury and Smith started lining up in more two-receiver sets.
Smith has 48 receptions for 529 yards and three touchdowns this season.
Smith’s season is over and his future with the Giants suddenly becomes unclear. Had there not been a hazy future for labor in the NFL, Smith would have been extended to a long-term contract by now. The Giants have waited on that because of the uncertainty. Smith’s knee injury will certainly diminish his value in negotiations if he becomes a free agent after this season or if the Giants try to lock him up before he hits the market.
The Giants did have somewhat encouraging news on an injury regarding another receiver. Manningham’s hip flexor will likely be an issue this week but there sounds like a chance he could play on Sunday against the Eagles. That would be beneficial because it would give the Giants two starting receivers of Manningham and Hakeem Nicks, allow them to use Derek Hagan as a third receiver, and not force them to rely on Michael Clayton or Devin Thomas as a regular receiving option in the most important game of the season.
The Giants also announced today that LB Clint Sintim has been placed on injured reserve and has been replaced on the 53-man roster by DE Alex Hall.