New York Giants cornerback Terrell Thomas, who missed each of the past two seasons following ACL tears in the same knee, has been named NFC Defensive Player of the Week for his performance in Sunday's 15-7 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles.
Thomas and Carolina Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis are believed to be the only players to return to the NFL following three ACL repairs on the same knee, and the two talk frequently about their comebacks and the effort involved.
After recording 11 tackles (10 solo), a sack and a forced fumble against Philadelphia, Thomas received a game ball from coach Tom Coughlin, who handed it out with an enthusiastic "Welcome back, Terrell" in Monday's team meeting.
"It's always sore, and I'm still coming off a knee injury, but it's definitely feeling better and I'm able to play a lot more to my old self, in a way," Thomas said Monday before the players left for their bye week.
"Sometimes the knee gets stiff during the game from the wear and tear, but I'm feeling good."
The Giants have taken care with Thomas and his knee this season, giving him days off from practice during the week and adjusting his role from week to week on game days.
In the first game against the Eagles, in Week 5 in New Jersey, Thomas played no defensive snaps. Then he started at one of the outside cornerback spots four days later against the Chicago Bears.
Sunday in Philadelphia, Thomas played every snap on defense. His strip-sack of quarterback Matt Barkley just before halftime prevented the Eagles from scoring when the game was only 12-0 in the Giants' favor and the Eagles were going to get the ball back after halftime.
"I think I'm at a turning point with my knee," Thomas said.