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Tuesday, October 29
Updated: October 30, 11:34 PM ET
 
Giants lose Hilliard for rest of season

Associated Press

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- New York Giants receiver Ike Hilliard will miss the rest of the season with a dislocated right shoulder suffered on a hit by All-Pro safety Brian Dawkins of the Philadelphia Eagles.

Ike Hilliard
Hilliard

An MRI on Tuesday disclosed a tear in both Hilliard's labrum and pectoralis muscle. He will undergo surgery in about a month and will at some point be placed on injured reserve.

The normal rehabilitation period for the surgery Hilliard will undergo is three months.

"Ike's been a playmaker for us," coach Jim Fassel said. "He does an outstanding job on third down. He's been a guy that has been one of our consistent players.

"He has continually played well in all the games. We're going to miss him."

Fassel said that he asked referee Bill Carollo whether Dawkins should have been ejected following the hit near deep in Philadelphia territory Monday night. Fassel said Carollo told him that the official who made the call didn't believe it warranted a disqualification. Dawkins was called for a personal foul.

"That type of hit is covered under the rules," Fassel said. "Guys get penalized. Whether the league does anything else or not, I don't know. You hate to see players get hurt, period, especially on a play that could have been avoidable."

Hilliard said it would be up to the NFL to say whether the hit was dirty.

"It's not for me to determine whether or not it was a dirty hit,'' Hilliard said. "It was late. Dawkins is a good, aggressive player. I'm not one to shy away from contact, so I'm not going to cry about it. That wouldn't do my shoulder any good.''

"I know he's an aggressive player, but I think there is a line that he crossed. He really did," Giants quarterback Kerry Collins said of Dawkins. "He knew that (Hilliard) was defenseless. I know it's football, it's part of the game, and I'm not saying he intentionally tried to hurt him because I don't think he did. ... You're not going to hear Ike say anything bad about it, but it could have and should have been avoided."

Amani Toomer, the Giants' No. 1 wide receiver who will certainly feel the loss of Hilliard on the field, told the Philadelphia Inquirer the hit was a "cheap shot."

The injury might put an end to Hilliard's career with the Giants. The teams' No. 1 draft pick in 1997 will be a free agent at the end of the season, and it's debatable whether New York will re-sign him after drafting Tim Carter in the second round this year.

Hilliard had 27 catches for 386 yards and a team-high two TD receptions. Despite missing almost all of his rookie season after undergoing neck surgery, the former Florida product has 259 career catches for 21 touchdowns. The reception total is the ninth-most in team history.

Hilliard was hurt in the third quarter of New York's 17-3 loss in Philadelphia when he was hit by Dawkins after a pass from Collins fell incomplete.

Hilliard had stretched to reach the pass, and was unable to defend himself against the hit.

After the game, Hilliard refused to talk about the hit, which left both players on the turf. Hilliard got up first and walked straight to the locker room. Dawkins walked to the bench and soon returned to the game.

Ron Dixon, Carter and fellow rookie Daryl Jones will be used to replace Hilliard.

Hilliard is the second starter lost in as many games. Defensive tackle Keith Hamilton was lost for the season with an Achilles' injury on Oct. 13.

Hilliard didn't catch a pass on Monday, ending his team-record streak of catching at least one in 68 consecutive games in which he played.

Information from SportsTicker was used in this report.




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