Smith says rehab on schedule and Tuck takes it easy

There were a few Giants in the city on Thursday making appearances at a few functions. Before Barry Cofield expressed his frustration at potentially becoming a restricted free agent for the second straight season, Steve Smith talked to reporters about his rehab at a promotion for Vaseline Men.

The wide receiver told reporters that his rehab is on schedule according to the New York Daily News. Smith said he feels no pain in his left knee which underwent microfracture surgery in December and that he could start running in May.

“I’m confident I’ll be the same player I was once I get back on the field,” Smith said on his Twitter page.

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Justin Tuck also was in the city to attend the Founders Dinner for the Jewish Childrens Center for the Arts honoring former Giant Michael Strahan.

Tuck said he’s been going through some light training and trying to take it easy to avoid injuries like the one Chad Pennington suffered. Pennington tore his ACL while playing basketball.

“Guys have to be careful because we can’t go in to our doctors and we can’t see our trainers and things like that,” Tuck said of the lockout rules which do not allow contact between teams and players. “Any injuries you have, you are pretty much on your own. That is why you have to be careful. That is one of the reasons why I am not amping up my training right now. Just doing small stuff and light stuff that keeps me in shape, not doing anything strenuous.”

Tuck says the lockout can be beneficial for some veterans who can use the off time to completely heal from any injuries that bothered them during the season.

“I’m looking at it that way,” said Tuck, who did not need any offseason surgeries unlike several Giants. “It benefits some and hurts others. For me personally, I am trying to use (the time) to make sure my body is healed and I guess I can be more detailed in my training. I can do the things that I know my body responds to the best.”

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Tuck and Cofield attended the dinner and Tuck hopes Cofield returns this season. Cofield told reporters that he wants to re-sign with the Giants for a long-term deal. But Cofield said he will consider asking for a trade if he has to return under a one-year restricted free agent tender again should the new CBA deem him a RFA.

Cofield played on a RFA tender of just under $2-million last season and might have to do so again this year with a modest raise if the NFL uses a CBA similar to last year's model. Missing out on becoming an unrestricted free agent for two straight years would be very frustrating for Cofield.

“None of us know exactly what is going to happen with free agency,” Tuck said. “We got some big-time guys that we possibly might lose depending on how it goes and that could be new faces and new attitudes and an adjustment period in itself. As it looks right now, I think we do kind of have a head start (on other teams) with the camaraderie aspect of it.”

“I’m hoping it stays exactly like it is,” Tuck added. “We got guys (potential free agents) like Barry Cofield, (Mathias) Kiwanuka, Steve Smith, Ahmad (Bradshaw), we don’t know what is going to happen with them.”