New York Giants linebacker Jameel McClain speaks to the media...

New York Giants linebacker Jameel McClain speaks to the media while team members cleaned out their lockers at Quest Diagnostics Training Center on Dec. 29, 2014. Credit: James Escher

While the Giants deal with a number of injuries, the most ominous one seems to be the neck stinger that linebacker Jameel McClain suffered Wednesday. He sat out Thursday's workout and Tom Coughlin said it will be "a while" before he returns.

What he did not add was "if he returns at all," but that could well be the case. McClain's career would seem to be in some jeopardy.

The extent of the damage diagnosed in tests on his neck, McClain's history of neck issues and the Giants' recent experience with such injuries create a cautious approach, Coughlin said. "I wouldn't even be able to guess on what they will do," he said of the medical team's approach to the injury.

McClain suffered a spinal cord contusion in 2012 when he was a member of the Ravens and, like former Giants running back David Wilson, has spinal stenosis. He returned to football and played all 16 games for the Giants last year, his first with the team, with 14 starts and 116 tackles.

He is considered a necessary insurance player for the Giants as he backs up Jon Beason, who has not played a full NFL season since 2010.

Last year, Wilson's football career ended because of his neck condition and injury. The Giants also have seen Mathias Kiwanuka and Antonio Pierce deal with similar injuries.

O-line shredded

Four-fifths of the starting unit that the Giants envisioned just days before the start of their OTAs was unable to practice Thursday because of injury. The only one who made it on the field was Justin Pugh, who took snaps at left tackle. The rest -- Will Beatty (PUP/pectoral), Geoff Schwartz (ankle), Weston Richburg (knee) and rookie Ereck Flowers (hip flexor) -- were sidelined. That left a starting group of Pugh, left guard Adam Gettis, center Dallas Reynolds, right guard John Jerry and right tackle Marshall Newhouse.

An MRI revealed a calf muscle tear for safety Nat Berhe, who missed all of the spring with a similar injury. Coughlin said there is no timetable for his return . . . Cornerback Prince Amukamara (groin) also missed practice . . . Wide receiver Preston Parker was pulled from practice with a left leg injury.

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