A few weeks ago Kevin Boothe probably thought he'd come off the PUP list quietly and ease back into things. Wednesday was his first day back on the practice field as a member of the active roster, but there was little time for him to enjoy it.

"That's what you sign up for," Boothe said. "You play this game, you have to be ready to play at all times."

With a banged-up offensive line that has already been restructured, Boothe likely will start Sunday against the Cowboys at left guard. Rookie Mitch Petrus is another candidate, but the Giants likely will go with Boothe's experience - though he has none this season. After tearing a pectoral muscle lifting weights in the spring, Boothe had surgery and began training camp on PUP. Three weeks ago he was able to begin practicing.

"The last few weeks have been kind of like a crash course, but I've been fine," he said. "That's the nature of this game. You never know when you'll be up. I figure this week I'll probably be dressing at least. And if I'm dressing, then they expect you to contribute."

Boothe's versatility might cost him a starting spot. He can play any spot on the line, including the extra tight end. Petrus is pretty much relegated to guard. The Giants also have Jamon Meredith.

"These guys that are getting the opportunity to play, they've been in the meeting room, they've been getting ready, and this is their opportunity to shine," guard / center Rich Seubert said. "We have complete trust in everybody . . . Whoever's in there playing, we're going to right this ship and go."

Tuck: 'Boys look confused

Justin Tuck has faced the Cowboys' offensive line many times in his career. He noted that they do not seem to be playing together. "Just a little bit more confusion, it seems like sometimes they're not on the same page," Tuck told Dallas reporters in a conference call. "When they are [on the same page], I've seen them move great. I don't know what the case is as far as communication is. That's the only thing I've seen differently."

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