New York Giants’ Witherspoon Tears ACL, Further Depleting Team’s Secondary

New York Giants cornerback Brian Witherspoon was waived after being lost for the National Football League season with a torn knee ligament, the second member of the team’s secondary lost to the injury in last night’s preseason game.

Witherspoon, 26, tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in the team’s 41-13 preseason victory against the Chicago Bears, Giants spokesman Peter John-Baptiste said today in an e-mailed release. Cornerback Terrell Thomas sustained the same injury in the first half.

The injuries hit an already depleted Giants secondary, and the team is expecting to begin looking into the availability of defensive backs, John-Baptiste said. Rookie cornerback Prince Amukamara, the team’s top pick in this year’s draft, needs surgery to repair a fractured bone in his left foot and may be sidelined for as long as 10 weeks, and cornerback Bruce Johnson ruptured his Achilles tendon on Aug. 4.

A four-month shutdown of the league during a labor dispute may be contributing to the team’s rising number of injuries, Giants coach Tom Coughlin said yesterday after Thomas’s injury. He said some players are spending more time on the field during preseason games than they otherwise would have.

“To take full advantage of the fact that we literally had no offseason and a very short preseason, we extended a little bit of play time tonight and we did have some guys who got nicked up,” Coughlin said.

Thomas led the team with 101 tackles and five interceptions last season. Witherspoon appeared in one game for the Giants last season, according to the release.

The Giants gave up 209.5 yards passing per game last season, the fourth lowest in the National Football Conference and best in the East division. New York allowed 24 passing touchdowns and recorded 16 interceptions.

The team now has five healthy cornerbacks -- Corey Webster, Aaron Ross, Michael Coe, Joe Burnett and rookie Darnell Burks, according to the release.

To contact the reporter on this story: Eben Novy-Williams in New York at enovywilliam@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Sillup at msillup@bloomberg.net

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