The New York Giants won Super Bowl XLVI mainly on the strength of their defense. And at the heart of that defense was a phenomenal line. Now, the defending champions are dealing with multiple injuries along the defensive front that are a serious concern.
Meanwhile, according to Jorge Castillo of The Star-Ledger, fellow defensive tackle Marvin Austin is struggling with an injured back, and defensive end Justin Trattou isn't expected back for a few weeks (per the Twitter account of The Star-Ledger's Mike Garafolo) thanks to a bruised heel and a sprained ankle. On top of that, tackle Martin Parker will have surgery on his back to repair a herniated disc.
In addition, another report from Ralph Vacchiano of the New York Daily News had Chris Canty already recovering from off-season knee surgery and Rocky Bernard struggling through a knee injury during the preseason.
Bernard is one of just four defensive tackles on the roster considered healthy right now, with Linval Joseph, Dwayne Hendricks and Markus Kuhn the others.
New York's defensive line was once again expected to be a huge part of its season. With Jason Pierre-Paul (16.5 sacks) and Osi Umenyiora (nine sacks) coming off excellent seasons, the unit was once again believed to be a strength. When healthy it looked like one of the NFL's best defensive fronts. Now all of that is up in the air.
Umenyiora, Pierre-Paul and Justin Tuck can all still get after the passer, but having solid players in the interior of the line will make their job a whole lot easier. The rash of injuries that has hit the team is a serious concern. For a team that prides itself on being tough up front and having a fierce front four, it is potentially devastating.
The Giants have to figure out a way to hold things together up front and hope some of their guys return healthy soon.