Star-crossed wide receiver Tim Carter, whose first two seasons with the New York Giants were marred by injuries, will miss the balance of the 2004 season after sustaining a fractured hip in the team's 26-10 victory at Dallas on Sunday afternoon.
While the Giants are still in the early stages of diagnosing the injury, coach Tom Coughlin said Monday that the third-year veteran would miss "extensive" time, then later acknowledged that the injury is season-ending. Coughlin said he had "no notification" yet that Carter will require surgery for the hip injury.
"Here's a young man who had done nothing but make progress," the coach said. "Suffering a season-ending injury is just a hard thing to deal with right now. We feel really bad for Tim. He had done a lot of good things for us, and I know he is very, very disappointed."
It is believed the injury occurred in the first quarter, on a long pass attempt by Kurt Warner. Carter was moving from left to right in the end zone, got his hands on the ball for a short period, then was hit by Dallas strong safety Tony Dixon and could not hold on.
Carter, 25, finished the first half, had the hip examined at intermission and did not return. In the locker room after the game, he said he did not know the severity of the injury.
The former Auburn star, a second-round pick in the 2002 draft whose stock skyrocketed in the last few weeks leading up to that year's lottery, battled through injuries his first two seasons. He missed 11 games in his rookie season after tearing an Achilles tendon. In 2003, concussions ended his season after a dozen games, in which he posted 26 receptions. Carter had also been bothered at times in the past by hamstring strains.
Cognizant of Coughlin's disdain for nagging injuries such as hamstring pulls, Carter worked diligently in the offseason to remedy the problem. He missed a short time in training camp when he tweaked his hamstring, but had a strong summer and clearly established himself as the No. 3 wideout, behind starters Amani Toomer and Ike Hilliard.
Through the first five games, Carter had 12 catches for 182 yards and one touchdown. His 15.2-yard average per catch is the best on the team, and Coughlin allowed Monday that Carter's deep speed has enabled the Giants to stretch the field more this season.
One player to whom the Giants likely will turn to help compensate for the loss of Carter, and the deep-ball dimension he provided the New York offense, is rookie Jamaar Taylor. The sixth-round pick from Texas A&M has not appeared yet in a regular-season game and spent much of the summer rehabilitating from a knee injury sustained late last season.
A young, speedy player who impressed the Giants' coaches in camp, Taylor has been working with the "scout" team the past two weeks in practice. "He is certainly a consideration [as a possible replacement for Carter]," Coughlin agreed.
Len Pasquarelli is a senior NFL writer for ESPN.com. To check out Len's chat archive, click here.