Mathias Kiwanuka headed for IR

The New York Giants knew this was the likely outcome, but it doesn't make the news any easier to digest. Defensive end Mathias Kiwanuka, who had four sacks in the first three games, will be placed on injured reserve because of a herniated disk in his neck, according to ESPNNewYork.com's Ohm Youngmisuk.

Kiwanuka's had 23.5 sacks in his five years with the Giants, and he'd emerged as a versatile presence in Perry Fewell's defense this season. The Giants have run off four consecutive wins since Kiwanuka saw his last action against the Titans, but he will certainly be missed this season. The '06 first-round draft pick could drop back and play linebacker for Fewell, so it's not like someone could step in and fill his role.

"We had to change a little bit when Kiwi went out," Fewell told reporters Wednesday. "Kiwi is a special kind of guy, so we looked around and we searched for some guys to take over those roles, and we have some guys that can assume that role, but not play it like Kiwi plays it, so that's a special little deal."

Kiwanuka's in the final year of his contract, so there's a chance he's played his last snap with the Giants. But coach Tom Coughlin and general manager Jerry Reese won't make any rash decisions. They know how unique of a player they have in Kiwanuka and they'll follow his rehabilitation closely. If doctors determine that it's safe for Kiwanuka to return to the field, I think the Giants would be interested in extending his contract.