Giants’ Tuck Says He Expects to Play Against Redskins With Neck Injury

New York Giants defensive end Justin Tuck said he expects to play in the season-opener against the Washington Redskins with a neck injury that has limited his practice this week and left him “concerned.”

“I will be there on Sunday,” he said.

The Giants have lost five defensive players to season- ending injuries, and two-time Pro Bowl defensive end Osi Umenyiora is out for the next few weeks. They open their National Football League schedule at FedExField in Landover, Maryland, on Sept. 11.

Tuck, 28, hurt his neck during a preseason game against the New York Jets on Aug. 29 and didn’t practice yesterday, coach Tom Coughlin told reporters.

“I am concerned but I am not panicked,” Tuck told reporters yesterday. “It is getting better, just not as fast as I want it to.”

Coughlin said that Tuck has undergone MRI testing and that the neck injury, which is not structural, is in a dangerous area.

“We’re trying to get it absolutely pain-free and it’s not quite that way,” Coughlin said yesterday. “That’s the obvious reason -- a setback and we have some issues.”

The Giants defense allowed 310.8 yards per game last season, the seventh-lowest total in the league. The unit has lost linebackers Clint Sintim and Jonathan Goff, defensive tackle Marvin Austin, and defensive backs Terrell Thomas, Bruce Johnson and Brian Witherspoon to season-ending injuries. Umenyiora will miss the next few weeks after having knee surgery.

Tuck, the Giants’ defensive captain and a two-time Pro Bowl selection, said he approaches this injury differently because it involves his neck.

“I have played through a lot of stuff, and hopefully I can play through this one,” he said.

To contact the reporters 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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