Justin Tuck May Be Making the Same Mistake as Osi Umenyiora

David GellerAnalyst IFebruary 25, 2009

In the 2007 season opener, Osi Umenyiora caught his 41 million dollar leg in the Texas Stadium turf and appeared to suffer an injury that would keep him out for a substantial period.


Surprisingly, amidst multiple the initial reports that his knee injury would be of the two to three month variety, Osi Umenyiora didn’t miss one game. That knee wasn’t listed on the injury report for the rest of the year, either.


That didn’t mean he wasn’t injured, though, and he never acknowledged the problem in the off-season.


The ramifications of playing through that knee injury without repairing it proved to be costly. In the Giants third pre-season game against the Jets, Osi Umenyiora tried to plant his leg and take an inside move on Jets tackle D’Brickashaw Ferguson. He then collapsed to the turf.


He had torn his lateral meniscus in his left knee, the same exact knee he initially hurt against Dallas roughly 12 months prior.


That wasn’t a coincidence. Especially since Osi Umenyiora wasn’t even engaged with Ferguson on the play, yet his knee just gave out on him.


I fear something similar may occur with the Giants other star defensive end.


It was pretty clear after the Steelers game Tuck was playing injured. He frequently got up slowly after the play was finished, and wasn’t nearly the force he was for the first half of the season. It turns out he had bone spurs in his foot, coupled with a lingering knee injury.


Tuck insists that rest, not surgery, will allow his foot to heal properly and get him ready for a more productive 2009 campaign.


Despite surgery being the safer, more logical option, Tuck says he’d prefer rest because, “I don't like getting cut up.”


Tuck is a bright guy; he has a weekly show on a New York station that proves that, but this is not a smart move.


If Tuck doesn’t like getting cut up, he’s playing the wrong position. Hell, he’s playing the wrong sport. His job requires him to do things that will constantly put him under the knife in his 40s, 50s, and beyond.


So why not just accept surgery? Although not a guaranteed success, the odds of this injury recurring next year would go down substantially. Without surgery, the issue is still there, and with one awkward turn of the foot it will flare back up.


With Mathias Kiwanuka remaining at end, the trios of Umenyiora, Tuck, and Kiwanuka have a chance to be deadly. The loss of Osi Umenyiora ultimately doomed the Giants during their stretch run, as their pass rush was invisible in the late months of the season.


With the loss of Tuck, the consequences would be similar.


The Giants better hope that despite making the same decision as Osi to resist surgery, Tuck will not sustain the same results.