Giants defensive end Mathias Kiwanuka has been ruled out of the Bears game Sunday night because of a neck injury, the club announced moments ago. Kiwanuka, it was discovered, has a bulging cervical disk.
There was no indication earlier today at practice of any problem. Kiwanuka lined up with the first-team defense during the portion of practice the media was allowed to watch. Neither was he on the official injury report issued after practice, and he spoke to reporters in the dressing room and gave no indication of a problem.
In fact, coach Tom Coughlin praised Kiwanuka's versatility because he can play linebacker and defensive tackle as well. The focus earlier today was on the fact that backup defensive end Osi Umenyiora sat out practice with swelling in his right knee, but Coughlin said he's expected to play.
Losing Kiwanuka is a tremendous blow to a defense that figures to put a heavy rush on Bears quarterback Jay Cutler, who can be interception prone. It's uncertain whether Umenyiora will be in condition to start at end, but Coughlin said he hoped to work rookie Jason Paul-Pierre into the rotation at defensive end more this week to get him some work. Should be plenty of snaps now, and backup DL Dave Tollefson also figures to be active.
Newsday's Giants beat writer Tom Rock will be providing later updates as more information becomes available.