Joseph suffers torn pectoral muscle

Updated: April 22, 2004, 8:24 PM ET news services

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- New York Giants defensive tackle William Joseph suffered a torn pectoral muscle while lifting weights, the team confirmed Thursday.

The injury took place Tuesday while Joseph was taking part in the team's offseason conditioning program. Joseph is scheduled to undergo surgery in the next few days and miss most of the spring, but he is expected to return to the field during training camp, which opens July 29.

A first-round pick last season, Joseph played in 14 games as a rookie with no starts. His best game was the season opener against St. Louis, when he had six tackles and a sack of quarterback Kurt Warner.

Joseph, who played at the University of Miami and was a first-team All-Big selection as a senior, is projected to have a significantly expanded role in the Giants' revamped defensive front this season.

The Giants attempted to move up in the first round of last year's draft but failed, choosing Joseph with the 25th overall selection. He signed a five-year, $9.5 million rookie contract that included a $3.725 million signing bonus.

The 6-foot-5, 303-pounder is considered one of the keys to a Giants' defense that will be dramatically reshaped. They have signed eight defensive free agents and as many as four could be starters. The group includes defensive tackles Fred Robbins, Norman Hand and Martin Chase.

Information from SportsTicker and senior writer Len Pasquarelli was used in this report.