Terrell Thomas couldn’t repeat himself enough this afternoon when it came to saying how ready and excited he was for his first practice back after tearing his ACL last summer. Well, that excitement lasted about a half hour. Before the Giants even took their first 11-on-11 snaps of the season, Thomas was off on the sideline nursing an injury.
“His back is tight, his legs are fine,” Tom Coughlin said after practice. “I would think (it’s normal from returning to practice after a long layoff). The back tightened up on him.”
Thomas began the practice looking fine, but during individual drills stepped away from the team. After some stretching, wincing, hydration and walking around, he headed back to the locker room with a trainer. A little while later he returned to the field area, but he never returned to practice.
The good news, obviously, is that it wasn’t Thomas’ knee that caused him to miss snaps.
“I’m definitely prepared,” Thomas said before practice. “I have a great team of doctors and the training staff here worked with me and allowed time for my knee to get stronger and to build around it. I have no limitations. I don’t think I’ll second-guess any time I fall or jump or anything. The biggest thing is getting back into football shape, you know, covering, tackling, press technique, all of the little things that I wasn’t able to do in rehab.”
Thomas also played a little Rodney Dangerfield “I don’t get no respect” card for the entire secondary.
“I think we’re tired of being the underdogs of the defense,” he said. “Obviously the front four are the big names … We’re the secondary that gets blamed for everything when things go wrong but we understand that we’re built on our pass rush and if the pass rush is not there and the coverage is there then obviously the timing is going to be off. When it clicks it clicks. The sacks and the forced fumbles go to the d-line but a lot of those are coverage sacks and we don’t get the credit for it. I think we’re tired of that. I think it’s time for Corey to make the Pro Bowl. I think it’s time for Kenny to get the recognition. Obviously Antrel has been there a couple of times. And I’m ready to storm back with the same ambition I had last year.”
Last year’s ambition was to make the Pro Bowl. Thomas said that hasn’t changed.
“A lot of people doubt me,” he said. “They say that to recover from a second ACL it’ll be too hard. But why set the bar so low? I set it high to come back as the same player I was last year. We’ll see throughout this training camp as I condition myself back in, but as far as my knee I feel like I’m there.”
Now his back may be holding him up. We’ll find out tomorrow at practice how much of an issue it is and whether he’s able to practice and actually take some reps. It’s been a while since he’s done that. He was ready to go in minicamp this spring but was held out as a precaution.
“As of today I’m ready to go,” he said. “My confidence is sky high. My biggest thing is working myself back into football shape. As far as the weight room, the rehab, I killed that aspect of it. Now it’s becoming a football player, working on my technique, getting sound in my eyes and all that stuff that comes along with playing football.”