Osi Umenyiora

Osi Umenyiora Credit: Newsday/David Pokress

For most players, a visit to see a specialist about an injury is a last resort and a bad sign. With Osi Umenyiora, the Giants seem to be seeing it in a different light.

"It looks like it's progress to me," Justin Tuck said Wednesday. "It's movement."

There hasn't been much of that in the first week and a half of training camp. Umenyiora has remained sidelined from practices with what he said is a sore knee although most believe it is more a business strategy for him to stay there until he gets a new deal or a trade from the Giants.

But Wednesday, for the first time this summer, Umenyiora was doing some football-type drills. Although he was only in shorts and a jersey while the rest of the team was in full pads, the defensive end was working on a field adjacent to the team. He was in a three-point stance, coming off the snap, and chasing a phantom quarterback while evading imaginary linemen. At one point he even used a spin move.

Umenyiora is visiting Atlanta Thursday to get a second opinion on his knee and, if he is cleared, his agent, Tony Agnone, said he believes Umenyiora will return to the field.

Tom Coughlin was asked if Thursday's visit is the beginning of the end of the Umenyiora saga. "I hope so, I really do," Coughlin said. "I hope we get some closure on that chapter and start on the new one."

"He definitely wants to get back on the football field but I don't think he's in any rush," Tuck said. "He's just taking it day by day . . . I think everybody understands the business aspect of this and that's what it is, business."

Coughlin said if Umenyiora needs special treatment in terms of his schedule to play with his knee, the Giants will give it to him. Last year, when Umenyiora's hip was an issue, he couldn't practice on Wednesday and Thursday so he only did one of them.

"We will manage whatever we have to manage," Coughlin said. "We've done it with the hip. We could practice Osi one [day a week]. We couldn't practice both Wednesday and Thursday so we practiced one day under those circumstances. So if there's an issue here, we'll find a way to work with the issue and we'll find a way to get the player in the best position he can be in on Sunday."

Once Umenyiora is over his knee, the harder part may be getting him over the emotional hump and the fracture in his relationship with, if not the team, then at least its front office.

The sides have been negotiating deals to keep Umenyiora with the Giants through his current contract, which has two years remaining. The Giants have offered Umenyiora incentives for the next two years, although a person familiar with the negotiations told Newsday that the statistics needed to reach those incentives are less than have been reported. According to the person, the Giants have offered to pay Umenyiora a bonus if he has 11.5 sacks this season and 10 in 2012, and the money tied to the sack production is "a fraction" of the total incentive package.

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