Mathias Kiwanuka is optimistic about returning quickly from the groin strain he suffered on the last play of the first half against the Bears on Friday night. And why wouldn't he be? He's optimistic about nearly everything these days. Kiwanuka has been on an amazing streak of good fortune that he said he expects to continue.
"I couldn't have imagined from when I was on IR [in 2010] and my brother [Benedict] was still coming back from his injury to believe that this sequence of events would happen," a reflective Kiwanuka told Newsday this past week. "It was a dream. Back then it was more than a long shot. But that's how life is."
Here's what's been included in the dream-like last few months: He won a Super Bowl with the Giants in his hometown of Indianapolis in February. His first child, daughter Elle, was born in March. He received a new contract from the Giants in April. And this summer he's been settling in as a playmaking linebacker for the team's defense. He had two tackles for losses against the Bears in the first half.
Kiwanuka looked to be emerging as one of the team's best defensive players in 2010 before a neck injury landed him on injured reserve and put his career in doubt. That was shortly after he witnessed his brother's horrific motorcycle accident in May 2010. Those two incidents left Kiwanuka shaken, facing mortality both professionally and in real life.
But during the last year, things have turned. Benedict is doing much better. Kiwanuka has found a home at linebacker, and with the Giants. This groin issue? No wonder he can shrug it off.
"When you're down, you're down, but when you're up, you're up," Kiwanuka said. "That's what I've taken out of this. I have to enjoy it while it lasts and look to the next situation when things aren't going so well and say, 'You know what, I'll be back on top soon.' "
In this case, "soon" is expected to be the Sept. 5 opener.
"I don't know what his status is going to be for this game that's coming so quickly," Tom Coughlin said of Kiwanuka's availability for the preseason finale Wednesday. "We would project for the opener and get this under control."
Apparently the optimism is contagious.