Geoff Schwartz will be playing on the Giants' offensive line once he gets the medical clearance to do so.
"I would think he's not going to stand on the sideline," offensive line coach Pat Flaherty said of Schwartz, who is eligible to play his first game for the Giants on Monday Nov. 3 against the Colts. Whether he will or not is more up to the doctors than the coaches.
"Is he ready to play 75 plays? That's the question," Flaherty said. "It's more of a medical, conditioning situation that we have to evaluate."
Schwartz has been on short-term injured reserve since he dislocated his big toe in a preseason game against the Jets. He was eligible to begin practicing with the team last week but only was cleared to do running on the side with trainers. He is expected to be on the field with the team when they regroup after the bye on Monday.
Schwartz played left guard in the preseason but was at right guard for most of his career. The offensive line has been shaky the last two weeks, but Flaherty said there is no plan yet for where Schwartz will fit in. The most likely spot would be on the right to replace John Jerry. Schwartz is more comfortable on that side and it would allow the Giants to not move rookie Weston Richburg, who is settling in at left guard since replacing Schwartz in the preseason.
At any other position the Giants could work Schwartz in slowly, let him get his endurance and game-legs back. But offensive line does not afford such rotation of personnel, so the Giants will need to make sure he is fully ready before they commit to him. Even that is not always a luxury. Flaherty recalled 2010 when Kevin Boothe came off the physically unable to perform (PUP) list. Boothe hadn't participated in training camp (as Schwartz did), and Flaherty said after his first practice back with the team, they did extra work with shoulder pads on just so he could get used to the feel of the equipment. A few days later, he was starting at guard against the Cowboys.
"He went from no pads to hitting the sled a couple of times to playing a full game," Flaherty said. "You never know."
Schwartz did get in those training camp practices. But unlike Boothe who had a torn pectoral, his conditioning might be slow to return since Schwartz's injury was his toe which prevented him from running until recently.
"I know this: Geoff has been very active in our meetings, he's stayed on top of everything, he's worked his tail off in there and from all reports I get he's done the same thing in the training room," Flaherty said. "I'll be excited to see where he's at next week when I can get my hands on him."