New Giants' defensive coordinator Perry Fewell addresses his defenders, including...

New Giants' defensive coordinator Perry Fewell addresses his defenders, including Michael Boley, Clint Sintim, and Jonathan Goff during the Giants' morning practice, Monday. (August 2, 2010) Credit: Jon Winslow

Mathias Kiwanuka came out of the game with a sore groin and said that he expects to be ready to play when the regular season starts on Sept. 11. But what if he’s not? That could mean the Giants would turn to Clint Sintim, a second-round pick who has done a whole lot of squat in his time with the team.

It was Sintim who replaced Kiwanuka on the field in the second quarter against the Jets. Sintim actually wound up recovering a fumble on a botched snap that led to the Giants’ only points of the game in a 17-3 loss.

Sintim said he’s reflected on why he hasn’t been able to be a defensive contributor in his tenure with the team.

“I think what hinders me is the trust level between them (the coaches) and me,” he said. “I think the more I can earn their trust as a player, the more I can earn playing time … I think it’s the player’s responsibility to gain the coaches’ trust. Obviously for the past two and a half years, that hasn’t been the case or I would be playing. So that’s what my mindset was coming into camp, to prove to them that I can play. I don’t think athleticism is the issue. I think it’s more of a trust factor and I’m doing everything possible to earn their trust so I can play more.”

Sintim is also coming off a knee surgery last fall. He’s been relegated to practicing every other day in training camp. But he said his knee feels good.

“I do everything possible to stay on top of my knee and I think up until this point I’ve been doing a pretty good job,” he said of the maintenance and prevention he does through treatments and rest. “I’m almost at nine months (after surgery) and I feel faster than I did before I hurt it.”

For a guy looking to earn trust, he’ll have one more shot on Thursday in the preseason finale. With Kiwanuka almost certainly sidelined for that game, Sintim could be the starter and see significant playing time. He said his knee won’t prevent him from doing so.

“I plan on playing,” he said. “I’m going to come into every situation like I’m the starter and I’m going to play a million plays … But I’m just going to do as I’m told. Whatever they say, how many plays I play I’ll play. I play five, granted I’d love more, but that’d be it. I play 100, so be it. I’ll be tired, but that’s the way it goes.”

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