Tuck: Shoulder is stronger every day

Updated: May 20, 2010, 12:05 PM ET
By Ohm Youngmisuk | ESPNNewYork.com

Justin TuckWilliam Perlman/US PresswireJustin Tuck on his shoulder: "I'm out here playing golf and I didn't grimace at all."

GLADSTONE, N.J. -- Justin Tuck's surgically repaired left shoulder is feeling good these days.

So good, in fact, that the New York Giants defensive end didn't feel any hint of pain or restriction while playing a round of golf Wednesday during an LPGA Pro-Am event held before the Sybase Match Play Championship.

"My shoulder has been improving just about every day," Tuck said right after coming off the 18th hole at the Hamilton Farm Golf Club. "Still not 100 percent, but I'm out here playing golf and I didn't grimace at all, so it has been feeling good."

Tuck said he expects to be ready to go for training camp in August, barring any setbacks. On Tuesday, he went through full non-contact drills with the team during the Giants' first offseason voluntary training activity. His shoulder withstood running and responded well after Wednesday's 18 holes in a group with LPGA rookie Azahara Muñoz of Spain.

Last season, Tuck could barely move his arm after suffering a partially torn labrum in Week 2 after he was tripped by Dallas' Flozell Adams. Still, Tuck didn't miss a game, playing with a harness -- and with pain. He finished with six sacks, half of the total he posted in 2008.

This season, Tuck hopes to return to being the healthy defensive end who had 22 sacks combined in 2007 and '08.

"I can move my arm," Tuck said. "That is the big thing. Last year I kind of just played through the pain and I think it was stupid of me because I hurt my team more than I helped them."

Tuck said he didn't like what he saw of himself on film last season and estimates that he was about "65 to 70 percent" of what he usually is.

"But when I decide to go on the football field, that is the end of it," Tuck said. "Once I step on the football field, I hold myself to that standard if I was healthy or whatever. Nobody at that point in time is healthy. So for me, I don't use it as an excuse."

Tuck knows there was no excuse for the Giants defense to perform the way it did last season. The Giants finished 8-8 after starting the season off 5-0 and the defense surrendered 40 points or more in three of the last four games.

Tuck says the Giants need to return to the mindset of becoming a dominant defense again.

"We do have a lot of talent," he said. "Last year we were beat up and we are getting healthy again. We are still a young defense. We are quick, fast and a smart defense. Hopefully we can get back to what Giant defense is all about."

Ohm Youngmisuk covers the Giants for ESPNNewYork.com. Follow him on Twitter.

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Ohm Youngmisuk has covered the Giants, Jets and the NFL since 2006. Prior to that, he covered the Nets, Knicks and the NBA for nearly a decade. He joined ESPNNewYork.com after working at the New York Daily News for almost 12 years and is a graduate of Michigan State University.
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