Justin Pugh’s season is over, and his Giants career may be as well.
The offensive lineman was placed on injured reserve on Thursday after receiving a second opinion on his back injury from specialist Robert Watkins in Los Angeles. He will not require surgery. Rest and rehabilitation have been prescribed, the Giants said, but he will not be healthy enough to play with just three games left.
Pugh, a 2013 first-round pick of the Giants, will be a free agent this offseason.
Pugh’s back had been giving him trouble for most of the year. He missed the Week 9 game against the Rams because of it, played the following week against the 49ers, but has not been in a game since. He practiced last week and said he felt OK going back on the field, but he could not finish the workout. He was sent for an MRI that day and then to Los Angeles for the second opinion.
When healthy, Pugh was one of the Giants’ most consistent offensive linemen. One of its most valuable, too, because of his versatility. He played both guard and tackle for the team this year and throughout his career. That ability could endear him to the team’s new management this offseason and bring him back on a second contract.
Pugh was the longest-tenured Giant on the roster without a Super Bowl ring, having played five seasons. He was the final link between the current team and the successful offensive lines of the past that included Chris Snee and David Diehl, both mentors to Pugh in his rookie season.