File photo of Giants safety Kenny Phillips during the first...

File photo of Giants safety Kenny Phillips during the first day of mini camp in East Rutherford, N.J. (June 16, 2009) Credit: Howard Schnapp

When the Giants take the field Sunday afternoon, Kenny Phillips will be in a separate area working by himself. That's not the situation he had in mind while spending the last 10 months rehabbing from knee surgery.

Phillips said over and over throughout the spring that his goal was to be practicing on the first day of training camp. But Thursday, Tom Coughlin said Phillips will begin the preseason on the active physically unable to perform (PUP) list, a designation that limits his interactions with the team and protects the Giants in case the safety is unable to recover in time for the regular season.

Players can come off the active PUP list at any point in the preseason, but if they are on that list when the season starts, they must sit out the first six weeks of the season. Coughlin said he does not believe that will be the case with Phillips, who underwent surgery to repair a patellofemoral arthritic condition in his knee last September.

"I have no reason to think that he's not going to be joining us very shortly," Coughlin said.

As for a timetable, Coughlin said Phillips could be back inside a week or he still could be on the PUP list when the team breaks camp in Albany on Aug. 20. Even then, Phillips won't be let loose.

"The plan, if everything goes according to Hoyle, would be that within a week or at the most a couple of weeks, we'll have him," Coughlin said. "When we do, it's probably going to be one [practice] a day."

Coughlin said the move is precautionary. It gives the Giants' medical staff a chance to "get their hands back on him" after the offseason and it will prevent Phillips from suffering any setbacks. Physical ones, anyway. Starting the season on PUP might be an emotional setback for Phillips, especially given how much emphasis he had put on being ready for the start of camp.

"All it is is a precaution," Coughlin said. "I think that he will understand that. He's going to be anxious to get out there, and I like that about Kenny. That's the way he is."

Notes & quotes: While hip specialist Marc Philippon reportedly recommended surgery for Osi Umenyiora, he and the Giants have decided to wait on that until at least the end of this season. "The decision was made that it is manageable," Coughlin said of Umenyiora's injury. "Osi really wants to play and be a part of this team . . . We're excited about that." . . . The Giants waived rookie S Chad Jones, who injured his leg in a New Orleans car crash last month, with the intent of placing him on the reserve/non-football injury list once he clears waivers. Jones is unlikely to play football again and the NFI designation means the Giants will not have to pay his salary (although there is some speculation they might pay some of it beyond the $825,000 signing bonus he already received) . . . DE Alex Hall was awarded to the Giants off waivers from the Eagles.

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