- Ohm Youngmisuk, ESPN Staff Writer
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New York Giants safety Kenny Phillips will start training camp on the physically unable-to-perform list as a precautionary measure while the team continues to bring the third-year player along slowly.
Head coach Tom Coughlin said Phillips hasn't suffered any setbacks or experienced swelling in his surgically repaired left knee. This is just the team remaining cautious and making sure Phillips returns healthy.
Phillips, who can come off the PUP list at any point, will work on the side and might practice at least once a day initially in a couple of weeks.
"We are just doing that ... our medical staff can properly assess exactly where he is and what type of restrictions, if any, have to be placed," said Coughlin, who spoke with beat writers individually on Thursday. "The only idea behind this is to, again, make sure we do go slow and we do use the utmost precaution getting started because we don't want a setback and we want to move him along gradually."
Phillips had hoped to be ready to practice at least once a day when camp opens Sunday in Albany. He had surgery on a degenerative condition in his knee after playing in the first two games of the season.
When asked if Phillips will be ready to play in the season opener, Coughlin said he wants to take it one step at a time.
"First I want to get him on practice field without any limitations and I'm hoping that that will happen within the first couple of weeks," Coughlin said. "I'm sure it will be one-a-day restriction once he does start practicing. We want to make sure that we build this whole thing up and our doctors and medical staff, which has worked with him tirelessly through the entire process, has a chance to see again exactly where he is and what needs to be done."
Phillips isn't the only injured Giant being monitored closely. Defensive end Osi Umenyiora will be managing a hip issue that stems from a hip flexor injury suffered in 2006. Coughlin said the defensive end will go once a day in practices as a precaution.
"We believe this is the best route to take so we can prepare Osi for the season and that he will be in best possible shape," Coughlin said. "He does have an injury and he does have something that will probably be corrected in the offseason. We think we can manage it. Osi is excited about the season and he wanted this type of news, news that it could be managed."
"Plenty of work to go around," Coughlin said. "Defensive football is situation football and we are going to take all the talents of all our players and use them [based on situations] to the best of our ability as a team. There are maybe 15 or 16 starters on a defensive football team, depending on which offensive personnel is out there during a game. We think practicing once a day will put Osi in the best position to help us win."
Coughlin will also be monitoring newly signed middle linebacker Keith Bulluck, who is seven months removed from surgery on his left ACL. Bulluck also will practice once a day initially.
Coughlin is excited by the addition of the 10-year veteran. But the head coach says the middle linebacker spot will still be open for competition even with the Bulluck signing.
"He is a no-nonsense guy, a physical and tough football player. He has some vast experiences, both good and bad; he has had one serious injury and is a guy who is really hungry to play," Coughlin said. "He's from this area, a Syracuse grad and he wants to wear the Giants' blue. An outstanding piece to the puzzle."
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