Pierce plans to play for Giants on Monday againts Browns

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Middle linebacker Antonio Pierce plans to play against the Cleveland Browns on Monday despite missing two straight practices with a thigh injury.

"I will never miss a game unless I am on IR, so I'll be there," Pierce said Friday.

Pierce was vague when asked how he hurt his thigh, but indicated it probably happened when he was running during the Giants' 44-6 win over the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday.

"We expect Pierce will work tomorrow," coach Tom Coughlin said. "Right now we are expecting that he will go."

If Pierce can't play, Chase Blackburn would replace him.

"I'll tell you what: Chase jumps in there and does a really nice job," defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo said. "He has been around a long time. And the one thing about Chase is every time that I will turn to talk to Antonio, like in prior weeks, he will be right there with an ear. He is smart; he gets it. He knows what it is like to be a backup in the NFL. When his time comes, he just steps in."

Pierce was questionable on Friday's injury report with a quadricep injury. He was flip when asked about it.

"It is mental," he said, adding that the Giants' 4-0 record is making him nervous.

When asked if he was worried about the injury, Pierce got serious.

"No, not at all," he said. "I will be there Monday night, 8:30, you will see me."

Pierce also indicated he wanted to play Monday because the Browns (1-3) have done a little trash talking about the Giants' offense not being physical.

"It is always good when somebody is taking a shot at somebody," Pierce said. "At least you know we are being looked at and they are taking notice of us. Hats off to them. What else would you do if you were 1-3? You have to do something to fire up your team.

"I don't knock the guys for doing what they are doing. It is no different than what I did last year or what other guys on this team did when we were down. They are doing whatever they need to do to rally their troops and get their home stadium fired up for Monday night football. It should be fun in the Dawg Pound."

Right tackle Kareem McKenzie, who suffered a concussion on Sunday, practiced and is feeling better.

Receiver Domenik Hixon, who also suffered a concussion, took part in most of the workout, Coughlin said.