|Receiver Ramses Barden (concussion) won’t play against Cleveland on Sunday. (US Presswire)|
Once again, the New York Giants injury report features more bad news than good.
Wide receivers Ramses Barden (concussion) and Hakeem Nicks (foot/knee), defensive tackle Rocky Bernard (quadriceps), cornerback Jayron Hosley (hamstring) and safety Kenny Phillips (knee) are all out for Sunday’s home game against the Cleveland Browns.
Nicks and Phillips had previously been declared out, but the other three had a chance of playing.
Right tackle David Diehl (knee) and linebacker Keith Rivers (hamstring) are doubtful, while linebacker Michael Boley (hip), safety Antrel Rolle (knee), right guard Chris Snee (hip) and cornerback Corey Webster (hand/hamstring) are questionable.
Center David Baas (hand) and cornerback Michael Coe (hamstring) are probable.
Coach Tom Coughlin said the Giants will have to “play with what we have” at defensive tackle in Bernard’s absence, which means rookie defensive tackle Markus Kuhn and second-year defensive tackle Marvin Austin should see more playing time.
Coughlin also wouldn’t rule out using defensive ends Justin Tuck and Jason Pierre-Paul on the interior defensive line.
“He’s done okay,” Coughlin said of Kuhn. “He’s a good, young prospect. He works hard. He’s physical. He’s done alright.”
When it came to Austin, Coughlin said, “For us to accomplish what we want to, he’s going to have to play well.”
While Nicks was already declared out, he did do some work at Friday’s practice, which is an encouraging sign.
“He’s getting there, I think,” Coughlin said. “Mentally he feels better. That’s for sure.”
With Hosley and Phillips out, safety Will Hill should be at nickelback again while Stevie Brown will start opposite Rolle at safety.
The Giants have until 4 p.m. on Saturday to activate safety Tyler Sash , who was suspended for the first four weeks for a violation of the league’s PED policy. If New York adds him to the 53-man roster, it would be forced to clear a roster spot.
Though Phillips is eligible for the short-term IR, it doesn’t sound like the Giants would clear a roster spot that way.
“At this point, no,” Coughlin said when asked if Phillips could go on the short-term IR. “We do think he’ll be ready prior to that.”
If Diehl is unable to go, Sean Locklear would logically be back at right tackle and Will Beatty would start on quarterback Eli Manning’s blind side.
Defensive coordinator Perry Fewell previously said he expects either Boley or Rivers to start at weakside linebacker, but if neither can play, Spencer Paysinger is the next logical choice.
“He can run, he’s physical, he’s smart,” Coughlin said of the second-year linebacker. “Same type of things you see on his special teams play, which has been very good.”
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