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Steve Smith's injury more serious than hoped, Manningham's might be less

New York Giants Steve Smith runs for a

New York Giants Steve Smith runs for a touchdown after receiving a 6 yard pass in the first half of an NFL football game against the Seattle Seahawks. (Nov. 7, 2010) Credit: AP

Two receiver injury stories appear to be going in opposite directions.

The one going downhill is the Steve Smith injury, which the Daily News reported last night is probably a knee and not a hamstring and it could even land him on injured reserve. If so, he would be the fifth wide receiver to land on injured reserve this season and certainly the most significant one, following Domenik Hixon, Victor Cruz, Ramses Barden and Sinorice Moss who has already been waived from the injured reserve list.

Smith, a Pro Bowler last year, has already missed four games with a pectoral muscle he injured in practice. He came back for the Monday night game against the Vikings and was playing the third-receiver role until Mario Manningham suffered his injury and Smith started lining up in more two-receiver sets. Then Smith was tackled awkwardly from behind, buckling him over backwards in the fourth quarter, and did not return to the game.

Smith has 48 receptions for 529 yards and three touchdowns this season.

It should also be pointed out that had there not been a hazy future for labor in the NFL, Smith would have been extended to a big-time contract by now. The Giants have waited on that because of the uncertainty. And if Smith's knee is in fact a troubling, surgical issue, it might diminish his value in negotiations if he becomes a free agent or if the Giants try to lock him up before he hits the market. Another casualty of the NFL-vs.-Players squabbling.

We get Tom Coughlin in a press conference in about an hour and he’ll have an update on Smith’s status and injury.

As for the other injured receiver, Mario Manningham, his hip flexor situation will likely be an issue this week but there sounds like a chance he could play on Sunday against the Eagles. That would be huge because it would give the Giants two starting receivers of Manningham and Hakeem Nicks, allow them to use Derek Hagan as a third receiver, and not force them to rely on Michael Clayton or Devin Thomas as a regular receiving option in the most important game of the season.

Like I said, more in about an hour.

New York Sports