Mathias Kiwanuka to see neck specialist

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- New York Giants linebacker Mathias Kiwanuka will visit a neck specialist Monday to get a second opinion on the bulging disk in his neck. He believes there is a chance he can play next Sunday against the Texans.

"It's possible," Kiwanuka said after the Giants' 17-3 win over the Chicago Bears on Sunday night. "We're going to discuss it with the doctors and take it from there."

Kiwanuka acknowledged that he was being optimistic with his assessment. The linebacker has yet to hear a definitive diagnosis from team doctors regarding the extent of the injury.

"You wake up in the morning and your neck's a little stiff. ... It's not something that I think can keep me out for a long time," Kiwanuka said.

He was initially ruled out of the Giants-Bears game late Friday afternoon when tests revealed a bulging cervical disk in his neck. The Giants said at the time that there was no timetable for Kiwanuka's return.

Sources told ESPN.com senior NFL analyst Chris Mortensen last week that the tests that revealed Kiwanuka's bulging disk were alarming enough that the Giants are bracing for a worst-case scenario in which Kiwanuka could miss two to three months and perhaps the rest of the season. However, as both sides seek different opinions, there also remains the best-case scenario that treatment, possibly through injection to calm down the disk, could allow for a return to action at some point, a source told Mortensen.

Kiwanuka's neck injury is similar to the bulging neck disk that Antonio Pierce suffered in October 2009. Pierce chose to retire rather than undergo surgery to get back on the field. Kiwanuka said Sunday night that the injury he suffered is slightly different than Pierce's ailment.

"There's a very subtle difference but I will say that his was a lot more severe than mine," Kiwanuka said.

It's unclear when Kiwanuka suffered the injury. He said he woke up with normal soreness after the Giants' 29-10 loss to the Titans last week.

"It was just coming out of a regular game and you're playing hard and you feel sore," he said. "I didn't feel it was anything noteworthy but I figured if it's your neck you have to be careful with that. ... It was enough to shut me down this week and hopefully I'll be back next week."

Kiwanuka, whose 2007 season was cut short when he broke his leg in Week 10, has four sacks and 11 tackles in four games this season.

Ian Begley is a regular contributor to ESPNNewYork.com.