Giants' Phillips ahead of schedule

New York Giants second-year safety Kenny Phillips appeared to be on his way to a Pro Bowl season in '09, but his season was cut short by a left knee injury that required microfracture surgery. The Giants never came close to replacing Phillips the rest of the season. C.C. Brown and Aaron Rouse were overwhelmed in starting roles and that contributed to a miserable finish.

Mike Garafolo of the Star-Ledger caught up with Phillips while he was in South Florida. Phillips played at The U and he's been doing the majority of his rehab work in the area.

"I kind of knew I wasn’t going to finish the year,” Phillips said. “I figured we’d ride until the wheels fell off. I didn’t think they were going to fall off in Week 2."

Makes you wonder why the Giants didn't have a better Plan B. Brown, who once started for the Texans, was not a viable starter. And then the Giants had to sign Rouse, a Packers castoff. Phillips suffers from a condition called patellofemoral arthritis, which is the erosion of cartilage between the patella and femur. It's rare for someone as young as Phillips to have this degenerative condition. But he remains upbeat about his prognosis.

"It’s fixable, very fixable. A lot of guys have had it,” Phillips said. “It should be a full recovery.”

One of the most frustrating things about the injury is that Phillips had finally convinced the defensive coaches to allow him to freelance within the scheme. Given more freedom, Phillips responded with two interceptions against the Cowboys in Week 2. Pretty much everyone in the Giants organization thought Phillips was headed toward a Pro Bowl season. Now, he almost has to start from scratch with new defensive coordinator Perry Fewell.

"Coming back from my injury, I’m going to have to prove it all over again, that I can cover enough ground for them to take the shackles off,” Phillips said. “I have to show them I’m still all that. I’m willing to do it, though."