The New York Giants spent a second-round pick on defensive tackle Marvin Austin, but the former North Carolina Tar Heel played only his first NFL game last week since suffering his season-ending injury last preseason against the Chicago Bears.
Austin’s progress has been hampered by a bad back since the preseason opener with the Jacksonville Jaguars, which has given him some trouble and kept him out of practice. As a result, Austin visited the Hospital for Special Surgery in Manhattan for tests on Wednesday. Though the results appear to be positive, Austin’s inability to see the field must be a concern for the Giants.
The Giants were hinging their hopes on seeing what Austin could offer them this season, but he cannot seem to get at a level where he is able to play consistently and healthily. His injury, combined with a plethora of other injuries in New York, has forced the Giants to scramble for talent to fill the mass voids they have at the defensive tackle position.
Head coach Tom Coughlin is hopeful that Austin can see the field soon.
“He said he felt pretty good today,” Coughlin told reports, via the Daily News’ Ralph Vacchiano. “A lot of the early symptoms were no longer there. But they’re going to do another set of tests on him. We’re hoping that within a reasonable amount of time he can come back and play.”
Unfortunately, that’s all the Giants have been able to do for Austin—hope.
The second-round selection missed all of 2011 with a torn pectoral muscle. Fortunately, Austin’s current injuries don’t appear to be long term, but stranger things have happened. It is not out of the realm of possibility that the Giants are simply downplaying Austin’s condition with the hope that it will improve enough to where the stout defensive lineman can return to the field.
Could there be more to Austin’s injuries than the Giants are telling us? Only time will tell. For now—much like Coughlin and the Giants—we’ll hope to see the promising young player on the field in a game situation again soon.