Justin Tuck thinks he'll play Monday

NEW YORK -- Justin Tuck says his neck feels a lot better, and the New York Giants defensive end feels confident that he'll be able to play on Monday night against the St. Louis Rams.

"Honestly, talking to me right now, I don't see how I will not play on Monday," Tuck said Tuesday after he gave a literacy presentation to students at Central Park East Middle School in Manhattan. "But that's me."

Tuck suffered a stinger two weeks ago in a preseason game against the New York Jets and sat out Sunday's 28-14 loss to the Redskins. He said Tuesday that he could've played.

"I feel as though I could've gave it a shot on Sunday," Tuck said, "but the doctor said there were some things that they were still worried about as far as going out there and banging it up and missing three or four games.

"Hopefully this week we see a tremendous improvement in it and I'll be out there on Monday. I think the pain level has dropped tremendously."

Tuck, however, will not be allowed to play until he is cleared by doctors.

"It's getting better," Tuck said. "It's a situation where you don't wanna go out there when it's too early and kind of bang it up. It's still a little irritated, but you don't wanna bang it up and cause (further injury)."

On Monday, Tuck said he was "50-50" to face the Rams.

"I don't know. I said all those numbers just to give you an answer," Tuck said.

Tuck, who was slated to receive treatment on his neck on Tuesday, didn't rule out practicing on Wednesday. He also didn't rule out playing on Monday without practicing.

However, Tuck did say he wants to see how his neck responds to hits during practice.

Tuck, who continues to experience a little stiffness, is glad that MRIs taken last week revealed no nerve damage. He is confident the injury is muscular and not structural.

"That definitely calms me down a lot," said Tuck, who added that he has no history of neck injuries during his career.

Tuck said his R.U.S.H. for Literacy program has raised over $1.3 million. He was at the school to hand out copies of his newly authored children's book, "Home-Field Advantage."

Mike Mazzeo is a frequent contributor to ESPNNewYork.com.