Tom Coughlin meets with Steve Smith

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Giants coach Tom Coughlin met with free agent Steve Smith this week and says the receiver has a "ways to go" before being healthy enough to play again.

Smith visited the team on Monday and Tuesday and had his surgically repaired knee examined by the team. He underwent microfracture surgery and hopes to re-sign with the Giants.

Coughlin described Smith's timetable for playing again as a "long haul."

"It went well," Coughlin said of the meeting with Smith. "He seemed to be really upbeat. Guys were excited to see him. We just have to see. ... It's going to be kind of a long haul for Steve. Hopefully we can cut through some of that and see where it goes. But it was good."

A source said the holdup over Smith's signing has to do with his health and the fact that the receiver likely will not be ready for the start of the season.

He potentially could start the season on the physically unable to perform list if his knee isn't close to ready.

When asked if Smith might not be able to contribute this season, Coughlin wasn't ready to go that far.

"I wouldn't say that at all," Coughlin said. "As far as I know, it's August and he's got a ways to go. He's feeling good. Feeling better, doing more, progressing better."

Due to the lockout, Smith could not rehab with the team. So he worked hard in California with trainers.

Smith made the Pro Bowl in 2009 with 107 receptions for 1,220 yards and seven touchdowns. Last season, he was limited to nine games due to injuries and finished with 48 receptions for 529 yards and three touchdowns.

Ohm Youngmisuk covers the Giants for ESPNNewYork.com.