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Pierce Placed On Injured Reserve


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Antonio Pierce’s season, and very possibly his Giants career, is over.

 

The team placed the 31-year-old middle linebacker on injured reserve this afternoon, according to a team spokesman. He has been out for two weeks with a bulging disc in his neck and was expected to miss at least four more.

 

Last week, Pierce traveled to Los Angeles to get a second opinion on his injury from Dr. Robert Watkins, a noted orthopedic surgeon, but according to the team Dr. Watkins concurred with the first opinion from the team doctors. The plan was to let Pierce rest and rehab the injury and see if the swelling went down on its’ own.

 

Obviously it didn’t. And while a team spokesman said Pierce has not suffered a setback and is not headed for surgery (at least not at the moment), it seems clear the Giants the did not believe that Pierce would be able to return to action this season.

 

Judging by his comments earlier this afternoon in his weekly, paid interview on WFAN, Pierce was likely stunned by the team’s decision.

 

“Obviously when this happened I was shocked and obviously disappointed, so I wanted to get as many different experts as I could and hear what they had to say,” Pierce said. “They kind of said the same thing: ‘You’ve got to let it take some time to go down. It’s nothing you can get medication for or rehab on. It’s something that has to go down on its own.’

 

“Hopefully in a couple of weeks, depending on what the team wants to do, I can go and get another MRI and see what happens.”

 

Obviously that’s not going to happen now. The Giants’ decision to end his season is the culmination of a dramatic turn of events that began on Oct. 25 when Pierce suffered a burner in a loss to the Arizona Cardinals. He continued to play, though, and said he was feeling very little pain or discomfort. That started to change in mid-November which led the team to send him for an MRI on Nov. 20.

 

That’s when Pierce got what he called “shocking” news that he had a bulging disc in his neck that was expected to sideline him for six weeks, maybe more. And what remained shocking to him, even today, was that he still wasn’t feeling any major pain or discomfort.

 

“It’s crazy because I feel great,” Pierce said on WFAN, before the Giants’ decision was announced. “And that’s honest. The only reason I went and got MRI done anyway is just because the trainers wanted to have something on record as far as just making sure you’re OK, because when a player gets a burner or a stinger you just want to get a check up on it. That’s where I thought we were. That’s where the Giants thought we were.

 

“But obviously it turned out to be something different, something that still doesn’t bother me. But when the MRI says one thing and the doctors say ‘This is what happens if you do play,’ you’ve got to listen to them.”

 

With Pierce now out for the season, his Giants career could be over, too. He has one year left on his contract and is scheduled to make $4.75 million next season. But despite Pierce’s oft-stated desire for a contract extension, team sources had insisted they had no immediate plans to give him one. And that was before he suffered the neck injury, which likely decreases his value even further.

 

The Giants have been hoping Jonathan Goff, a fifth-round pick out of Vanderbilt in 2008, will eventually take Pierce’s place. He might even see some time at middle linebacker during the final five games of the season. If Goff develops fast enough, it could free up the Giants to cut Pierce in March to free up some salary cap space.

 

Regardless, at his age and with a bad neck, it seems very unlikely the Giants will reconsider their plans not to give Pierce an extension.

 

Meanwhile, veteran Chase Blackburn has started for Pierce the last two games, and will likely start again on Sunday when the Giants face the Dallas Cowboys. Blackburn has been fine during his two games as the starting middle linebacker, but there’s no doubt that the presence of Pierce, the Giants’ emotional leader, has been missed.

 

“It’s not like when you’re on the football field you’re saying, ‘Oh no, if AP was here, things would be different,’” defensive end Justin Tuck said earlier today. “You do notice his presence in the huddle. Sometimes intangibles get in the way of that. AP has a lot of intangibles that made him a great linebacker and a great leader on this defense.

 

“Is he missed? Absolutely. But can we use that as an excuse? No. We feel very confident with the guy that came in and did an adequate job. I just think the intangibles are kind of the things you notice and miss sometimes.”

 

The Giants have not yet announced who will replace Pierce on the 53-man roster.

 

 

Source: NY Daily News

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From the moment the Giants announced Antonio Pierce would be sidelined indefinitely with a bulging disk in his neck, there wasn't much of a belief behind the scenes he'd return this season.

 

That pessimism has proven to be warranted because the team announced Monday afternoon the middle linebacker will be placed on injured reserve. His 2009 season is over and his future with the team is likely in doubt.

 

Pierce, 31, originally suffered the injury in the loss to the Cardinals on Oct. 25, though he and the team believed at the time he had merely suffered a burner. An MRI performed two days before the Nov. 22 matchup with the Falcons revealed the bulging disk.

 

The Giants never set a time frame for Pierce's return but privately were holding out hope the disk would shrink within about six weeks. Pierce flew to Los Angeles to see noted neck specialist Dr. Robert Watkins for a second opinion. The Giants announced on Thursday Watkins had concurred with their original diagnosis and that Pierce would remain out indefinitely. Clearly, though, it became evident Pierce would be out at least until the postseason before it would be known whether the disk would shrink on its own.

 

A Giants spokesman said Pierce is not yet scheduled to undergo surgery. The team has not yet announced a roster move to replace Pierce on the roster.

 

The nine-year veteran is headed into the final season of the six-year, $26-million contract he signed as a free agent in 2005. Pierce had asked the Giants before last season to give him a contract extension but he was rebuffed. He then struggled a bit in 2008 - a season that eventually ended with his accompanying Plaxico Burress to the Latin Quarter night club on the night he was shot.

 

But this season began with plenty of promise for Pierce, who arrived in training camp in much better shape after rededicating himself in the off-season. He also dodged gun-possession charges related to the Burress incident when the grand jury returned a "no bill" following his testimony.

 

Pierce led the Giants' defense to a No. 1 ranking through five games, though the unit's production slipped through the four-game losing streak - beginning with a blowout loss to the Saints in New Orleans. Pierce called himself the "biggest culprit" for the defense's performance and helped turn things around a bit in the loss to the Chargers, though a late touchdown by San Diego won the game.

 

Without Pierce, the Giants defense has struggled greatly. The unit surrendered a 14-point, fourth-quarter lead to the Falcons, who scored on all four of their second half possessions, and then allowed the Broncos to score on four of their first five drives last week.

 

"It’s not like when you're on the football field you are saying, ‘Oh no, if AP was here, things would be different. ’ (But) you do notice his presence in the huddle," defensive end Justin Tuck said Monday on a conference call with reporters. "Sometimes intangibles get in the way of that. A.P. has a lot of intangibles that made him a great linebacker and a great leader on this defense.

 

"Is he missed? Absolutely. But can we use that as an excuse? No. We feel very confident with the guy that came in and did an adequate job. I just think the intangibles are kind of the things you notice and miss sometimes."

 

Chase Blackburn has started the past two games and has had a mix of solid plays and a missed tackles. Coach Tom Coughlin has hinted second-year linebacker Jonathan Goff, who has taken snaps with the starters in practice, could be in line for more playing time in the near future.

 

The Giants have not announced a transaction to replace Pierce on the roster. That figures to come either Tuesday or Wednesday.

 

Source: The Star-Ledger

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What was so great about this guy.

 

He couldnt rush the passer, always got blocked by the RB, couldnt cover the RB or TE, and always hit the wrong hole on the runs.

 

I dont think ive seen him make a solo tackle much less a big hit. He points around and yells before the snap, big dceal, the coaches are telling him what to do. Instincively he sucks as a LB and never saw anything great about this guy

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What was so great about this guy.

 

He couldnt rush the passer, always got blocked by the RB, couldnt cover the RB or TE, and always hit the wrong hole on the runs.

 

I dont think ive seen him make a solo tackle much less a big hit. He points around and yells before the snap, big dceal, the coaches are telling him what to do. Instincively he sucks as a LB and never saw anything great about this guy

 

I woudln't go that far. The guy was a steal when we signed him. I remember Bleedin making a comment how we siged the guy just before his prime.... he was solid for us.. Over the last 2 years, he's been a weak link though.

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