EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Like the vast majority of NFL players, New York Giants tight end Larry Donnell is not a doctor. But he has been talking with a lot of doctors lately about the condition of his neck, and he offered a disappointing diagnosis when asked about it Friday.
"It's in pretty rough shape," Donnell said. "It's going to be a while before I'm able to play again."
Donnell has missed two games with his neck injury and has already been ruled out of a third, this Sunday in Washington. He used the word "broken" to describe what's going on in his neck Friday. While the team has offered no official diagnosis and Donnell seemed to be trying to be careful about details, NJ.com has reported that Donnell may have a small fracture in a bone in his neck. This surely would be a reason for extreme caution.
"There's a chance I could play again this season, but this is not an arm, not a foot," Donnell said. "This is my neck. I've broken arms, broken legs and I knew they were broken. This is a neck, so we just have to be really careful."
Donnell said he wasn't concerned about any long-term effects beyond football -- that he's been told the injury will heal on its own with time. But it certainly seems likely that he'll be placed on season-ending injured reserve at some point in the coming days or weeks. With Daniel Fells already out for the year, Will Tye and Jerome Cunningham are the only other active tight ends on the Giants' roster. Rookie Matt LaCosse is on the practice squad.
In addition to Donnell, left guard Justin Pugh (concussion) and linebacker Mark Herzlich (quad) have been ruled out for Sunday's game. Center Weston Richburg is listed as doubtful with a high ankle sprain and hasn't practiced in two weeks other than some very limited work Wednesday. He's unlikely to play, which would leave Dallas Reynolds as the only center on the active roster. Rookie Shane McDermott, a teammate of left tackle Ereck Flowers' at the University of Miami last year, is the center on the practice squad and could theoretically be promoted to back up Reynolds if Richburg is out. John Jerry would start at left guard in place of Pugh.
Linebacker J.T. Thomas, who continues to struggle with an ankle injury, is listed as questionable for Sunday's game.
Cornerbacks Prince Amukamara (pec) and Leon McFadden (groin), defensive end Damontre Moore (hamstring), guard Geoff Schwartz (ankle) and linebacker Uani Unga (neck) all are listed as probable. Amukamara has missed the past five games but is expected to return this week.