Giants “taking precautions” regarding Justin Tuck’s sore back
With fourth-year player Jason Pierre-Paul still recovering from back surgery performed in early June, the prospect of missing Tuck as well could be a significant blow to the Giants’ defensive unit
“He’s got a tight back,” Giants coach Tom Coughlin said of Tuck’s back injury without offering too much information. “They’re just taking the precautions.”
Coughlin is hopeful that Tuck will be able to play in the Giants’ preseason opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers this Saturday. But he added in order for that to happen, Tuck has to show a positive sign regarding his recovery from the back ailment.
"We'll see, we expect that to be the case but he'll have to do some improving,” Coughlin said of Tuck’s chances of playing at Pittsburgh.
While dealing with multiple injuries including neck problems, Tuck had a subpar season in 2012, finishing with just 45 tackles and four sacks over 15 games. Additionally, as the Giants’ defensive captain he took a significant amount of the criticism for the team finishing as the second-worst defense in the league last season. Tuck took last season’s struggles (both personal and on the Giants’ defense) quite seriously and is looking to make a comeback this year.
"I feel revitalized, I just want to get back to being a dominant football player again. I've always been my worst critic,” Tuck said on Sunday. "Not making the playoffs and me not having anywhere close to the year I wanted wasn't good enough.”
“So I'm motivated to get back to playing my style of football. And not so I can quiet critics or get a new contract. This game is about winning and making other people better,” Tuck continued. “I want to get back to winning because that's what you're always remembered for."
Meanwhile, free agent acquisition Cullen Jenkins has taken over at defensive end in Tuck’s absence. The Giants also shifted Shaun Roger’s to the defensive tackle spot vacated by Jenkins’ move.
“He’s a tough guy to block no matter where he is,” Coughlin said of Jenkins, who played last season with Philadelphia. “He’s very effective, very good. Moves well. Just gives us a nice piece of versatility to be able to play him basically wherever we need.”