Giants CB Peterson out at least eight weeks

Updated: October 16, 2003, 5:03 PM ET

EAST RUTHERFORD, New Jersey - The news on New York Giants' cornerback Will Peterson is worse than first thought.

The Giants announced Thursday that Peterson has a stress fracture in a vertebrae in his lower back and will be sidelined for at least eight weeks and possibly the entire season.

Peterson was injured in the Giants' 23-10 loss to the Miami Dolphins on October 5. He had soreness in the back, but it was not enough to keep him out of the lineup in last week's 17-6 defeat in New England. But when the pain persisted, he underwent an MRI, which revealed the stress fracture.

"It will heal and it already is showing signs of healing," Giants coach Jim Fassel said. "The problem is if he keeps going, it could become a complete fracture. He's going to need rest. There's nothing else to do."

Peterson recorded a season-high nine tackles, including six solo stops, against the Dolphins and seven last week.

"The injury is not a big deal, except I'm going to miss some time," he said. "The good thing is we caught it before it broke all the way through, and it's going to heal on its own. It takes time. They said it's like watching grass grow."

Fassel said he has not decided if Peterson will be placed on injured reserve, which would end his season.

"If I figure it's going to be a minimum of two months before I get him back, it's probably going to be more like 2 1/2," Fassel said. "I don't know if I can hold a roster spot that long for a guy I may not get back."

Nickelback William Brown will start in Peterson's place Sunday when the Giants host the Philadelphia Eagles.

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