Giants CB Will Peterson out with stress fracture in back

Updated: October 16, 2003, 4:23 PM ET

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Will Peterson, whose emergence last season at cornerback allowed the New York Giants to waive Jason Sehorn, might miss the rest of the season with a stress fracture in his lower back.

There is a chance Peterson could play again in six to eight weeks, but doctors have also told him it might take up to three months to heal.

"I was pretty stunned," Peterson said Thursday. "I thought it was a muscle or something."

Peterson was hurt in a game against Miami on Oct. 5, although he could not recall the precise play. He didn't miss any action against the Dolphins or in Sunday's loss to New England.

The stress fracture of the vertebra in his lower back was detected on Wednesday by an MRI and a CAT scan.

"It's not a big deal, except that I will miss some time," said Peterson, who had a nagging problem with soreness in recent days. "The only way it will heal is without any pressure being put on it, or any kind of extreme turning, which my job requires. The good thing is we caught it before it broke all the way through."

The timing of the injury is not good for the struggling Giants (2-3). They will face Donovan McNabb and the Philadelphia Eagles (2-3) here Sunday, and then go to Minnesota for a game against the Vikings and Randy Moss.

"With the situation we're in now, you'd like to be able to help to turn things around and get on a winning streak," said Peterson, whose 24 tackles were fourth highest on the team.

Ralph Brown will replace Peterson at right cornerback. Will Allen is the left cornerback.

"They (the Eagles) probably already have the news and they are changing their game plan and saying this is the guy we are going to go after," said Brown, a fourth-year player from Nebraska who has been the nickel back in passing situations.

Brown said Peterson telephoned him Wednesday and told him there was a chance he would start this week. Brown was updated as soon as he arrived at Giants Stadium on Thursday.

"The trainers and everyone was coming up to me saying: `Get ready. You have to start. You are going to be doing it for the rest of the season almost," Brown said.

Second-year safety Ryan Clark will probably take over as the nickel back, although the Giants might move Brown back to the nickel back in passing situations and play either rookie Frank Walker or Kato Serwanga at cornerback.

"I guess they are giving me a shot, but you hate to get it that way," Clark said. "That's one of our best defensive players.

"That's part of the NFL. I'm excited, though. You always want to show what you can do."

Peterson was fourth on the Giants with 28 tackles. The third-year pro started five games as a rookie. He replaced Sehorn at right cornerback on a full-time basis last season, starting 12 games.

Sehorn was waived after last season in a salary cap move.

Defensive end Michael Strahan said Peterson is a confident player who makes everyone on the defense feel comfortable.

"But I think we also have a comfort level with the others -- with Ralph and Ryan -- because those are guys who have been out there, too," Strahan said. "I don't think we are necessarily going to worry about it. I think those guys can handle their own."

This story is from ESPN.com's automated news wire. Wire index