Defensive end Mathias Kiwanuka’s season is over, and there is a chance his career with the New York Giants could be at an end.
The Giants placed the five-year veteran on injured reserve yesterday with a herniated cervical disk after waiting more than a month to see if rest would fix his neck. With his contract up after this season, it’s unknown whether the Giants are willing to re-sign a player with a neck problem.
“It’s painful for us to go this route with Kiwi, but we’ve exhausted all of our options,’’ general manager Jerry Reese said. “What’s most important is for him to get healthy. We’re praying and hopeful that by next fall he will be back at 100 percent and playing for the New York Giants.’’
Kiwanuka was having an outstanding season, with four sacks in the first three games. The Boston College product was diagnosed with a cervical disk problem before the Giants played the Bears this month and missed the last four games.
“We held out hope as long as we could,’’ coach Tom Coughlin said. “Finally, by consensus, the doctors came to this decision. You have to make the right choice and the decision was made that he could not play again this season. My concern is for Mathias. He loves the game, he loves to play, he’s proven his versatility this year beyond any question.’’
Kiwanuka, who said he is in no pain, hopes to avoid surgery.
“The consensus is that if I take the proper amount of time off, there is a very good chance that it’ll heal on its own. If it doesn’t happen, we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it,’’ he said.
Defensive back and return specialist Will Blackmon, who spent the past four seasons with the Packers, was signed to take Kiwanuka’s place on the roster.
Blackmon was Kiwanuka’s roommate during their senior season at Boston College.
Saints running back Pierre Thomas hobbled into the locker room on crutches, keeping weight off his sprained left ankle and sounding perplexed about why his recovery is going so much slower than he’d hoped. “I really don’t know what’s the whole problem. Everybody keeps saying it’s a sprain or maybe a little tear there,’’ Thomas said. “I don’t know for sure if that’s true. I’m hearing so many different stories. I don’t know what to believe.’’ Fellow running back Reggie Bush also did not practice as he continues to recover from a broken bone in his lower right leg . . . Rams running back Steven Jackson, who had surgery for a broken left ring finger Monday, said he will play when the Panthers visit Sunday . . . Arizona coach Ken Whisenhunt said there is no doubt wide receiver Steve Breaston will play Sunday against the Buccaneers after missing three games following arthroscopic knee surgery . . . Raiders rookie wideout Jacoby Ford, a fourth-round pick out of Clemson, will replace Louis Murphy (chest contusion) and make his first start Sunday against the Seahawks.