According to ESPN New York's Ohm Youngmisuk, Austin practiced on Monday and has high hopes of getting on the field this Sunday after being sidelined with a back injury since the beginning of training camp and missing the entire 2011 season with a torn pectoral muscle.
It looks as if Austin will play against the Bucs as long as he's cleared to play by the Giants' trainers, with whom Austin has spent practically every day this summer.
I’ve been with [the trainers] every day forever. Even the days off, I’m in here. Just making sure that I relay how I feel to them as best as I can and they’re going to give me the best information because this is not the first time they dealt with what I’m dealing with.
Ralph Vacchiano of the New York Daily News echoes that sentiment, tweeting:
DT Marvin Austin (back) says he feels like he's on track to play Sunday, as long as the trainers clear him. #NYG— Ralph Vacchiano (@RVacchianoNYDN) September 10, 2012
New York could use the 312-pound frame of Austin on the interior of its defensive line, as the Giants managed just two sacks of Tony Romo in New York's 24-17 home-opening loss last Wednesday night.
Austin was taken as the No. 52 overall pick of the 2011 NFL draft by the Giants and was projected to make an immediate impact on the defensive line, plugging up the middle on running plays and allowing Justin Tuck, Jason Pierre-Paul and Osi Umenyiora to get around the edge for easier sacks, but that never happened due to the pectoral muscle suffered in training camp.
Rocky Bernard and Linval Joseph each played well on Wednesday night, but slowed down as the game progressed, forcing head coach Tom Coughlin to substitute rookie Markus Kuhn in at defensive tackle.
The Giants are also without DTs Chris Canty (knee) and Shaun Rogers (blood clot), with the 350-pound Rogers being lost for the season due to the seriousness of his injury.
New York placed Canty on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list, meaning he's not eligible to return until after Week 6 of the season, making the return of Austin all the more important to the Giants' defense.
If all goes according to plan, the Giants should see both Austin and corner back Prince Amukamara on Sunday against Tampa Bay, which will help against the ground-and-pound of rookie Doug Martin and deep threat wideout Vincent Jackson.
Keep your fingers crossed, Giants fans.
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