Mathias Kiwanuka Felt Jeremy Shockey's Pain Too

gregory caldarellaAnalyst IJuly 28, 2008

With all the attention being directed at Shockey and his absence from the Giants' magical postseason run, many forget that others were in the same boat as the volatile TE.

Mathias Kiwanuka suffered a season ending injury when he broke his leg and was forced to watch the playoff run from a distance just like Shockey. Same injury, same feeling of alienation, but certainly a different result for this year.

Kiwanuka was in his first season as linebacker. He went through some growing pains in the early going at his new position. He was visibly out of place on some plays.

Kiwanuka was finally starting to hit his stride when fellow defensive mate Osi Umenyiora rolled over his leg in a heap and that game versus the Lions was the last time he would step foot on the field for the rest of the year.

Kiwanuka is a very talented pass rusher and combined with Strahan, Osi, and Justin Tuck, he helped form one of the most formidable pass rushes in the league.

Mathias slid back onto the defensive line on passing downs and proved to be a versatile weapon on the defensive side of the ball, but all his hard work and preparation came to a screeching halt on one play.

He says he can relate to how Shockey felt, but obviously has taken a different route for this upcoming season with his attitude. He can't wait to get back on the field and contribute to team again.

He doesn't have the bitter taste in his mouth about not being able to play side by side with his teammates during the heat of battle. He now says how much he appreciates the little things in the game thanks to his injury.

"You can start getting down on yourself and thinking, 'Oh, another practice, another this, another that,'" he said of the daily grind in the NFL. "But when it's taken away from you, when you can't go out there and practice and do it, you realize how much you love it and how much you'd give anything just to get another rep, another scout team rep." 

He refuses to let what happened to him last year get him down. He can only control his future from here on out and dwelling on the past is just useless at this point.

It is also interesting to note that Derrick Ward also saw his season cut short thanks to a broken leg and he too is more focused than ever about getting back into the swing of things.

It is pretty coincidental that all three Giants players lost in season suffered broken legs and it is also not surprising to see which ones have responded maturely to such a difficult situation heading into this new season.