Strahan to miss 2-4 weeks with sprained foot ligament

Updated: November 8, 2006, 12:53 AM ET
By Len Pasquarelli | ESPN.com

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- A Giants defense already thinned by injuries suffered another setback Monday when an MRI and a CT scan confirmed that Pro Bowl defensive end Michael Strahan sustained a sprain to the ligament connecting the Lisfranc joint of his right foot during Sunday's win over the Texans.

Michael Strahan
Strahan

The damage is not quite as serious as in some Lisfranc injuries, which are often ligament tears which require surgery, but Strahan will be on crutches for at least a week. No surgery is required, but team head trainer Ronnie Barnes said in a statement released by the team that "a reasonable timeframe for [Strahan's] possible return" would be two-to-four weeks.

The healing of such mid-foot injuries are difficult to predict; a return by Strahan even in a month might be a bit optimistic. Some players who have suffered Lisfranc injuries, even those not requiring surgical repair, have been sidelined for months as they rehabilitated from the sprain.

To that end, Strahan, who was injured in the second quarter of Sunday's 14-10 win over Houston, told FOXSports.com that the recovery period might last up to two months.

"It's really up to how long it takes to heal," Strahan told the Web site. "It's not torn, but it's similar to the injury that I had as a rookie that kept me out for several weeks."

Strahan said his foot simply got caught in the FieldTurf surface at Giants Stadium. He left the game, did not return, and exited the stadium wearing a protective walking boot on the foot. Tests on both Sunday and Monday revealed no broken bones in the foot, and Strahan will be re-examined next week to gauge his progress in recovery. Giants coach Tom Coughlin said it's hard to set a definite recovery period.

"We're still trying to understand exactly how we are going to see progress," Coughlin said on a conference call devoted almost entirely to Strahan.

Almost nothing was said of the showdown between New York (6-2) and the Chicago Bears (7-1) on Sunday night at Giants Stadium.

Coughlin might know by Wednesday whether All-Pro Osi Umenyiora (hip flexor) or fellow defensive end Justin Tuck (foot) will be ready to return after missing the last two games.

"We have to assess this thing day to day with the other injured guys and get ready to play with our people," said Coughlin, who was unaware that Strahan said he might be out eight weeks.

Dr. Michael Kelly, the chairman of the department of orthopedic surgery at Hackensack University Medical Center, said Strahan's foot probably is tender and swollen.

"When you sprain that ligament the injuries can come in an array of severities," Kelly said in a telephone interview. "It sounds like Michael's isn't too bad."

Scouts Inc.'s take
The Giants head into Sunday's game with the Bears with a rash of injuries on defense most notably at defensive end, where they will be without Michael Strahan. Chuck Knox Jr of Scouts Inc. looks at how the injuries could impact the Giants and what they might be able to do.

More from Knox's blog Insider

Other notable players have suffered the injury and spent considerable time on the sideline:

• Former Giants cornerback Will Allen needed surgery after spraining his Lisfranc ligament in 2003, missing the final four regular-season games.

• Former Eagles running back Duce Staley also needed surgery for the injury a couple of years ago and missed the rest of the season.

• Eagles safety Brian Dawkins missed nine games with a Lisfranc problem in 2003 and Philadelphia running back Brian Westbrook missed the last four in 2005 with the injury. Neither had surgery.

While Strahan might be out longer than the Giants predicted, Kelly said the fact that he was not having surgery was good news.

"Usually if you are intelligent, you don't under-predict the nature of those things," said Kelly, a former orthopedic surgeon for the NBA's New Jersey Nets.

Strahan will have ultrasound, ice and massage to start his rehabilitation, and then progress to strengthening his foot and improving his range of motion, said Kelly, adding the player will probably wear orthotics to take some of the pressure off his foot.

Adrian Awasom, who was on the practice squad until two weeks ago, replaced Strahan and finished with two tackles.

"He did a nice job," Coughlin said. "He hustled, he gave good effort and certainly had some pressures. I thought he did, under those circumstances, a very good job."

Coughlin doesn't have many options if Umenyiora, Strahan and Tuck can't go. Awasom and first-round draft pick Mathias Kiwanuka are his only healthy ends, although tackle Fred Robbins could move outside.

Coughlin said the team would consider signing another end, if one could be found. He also could use one of his linebackers as a standup defensive end.

This is the second year in a row the defense has been hit with a rash of injuries at one position. It was the linebackers last year.

"Every week you have to adjust," Coughlin said. "We've been trying to do that. We certainly would like to get some people back."

Strahan is tied with Hall of Famer Lawrence Taylor for the franchise sack record at 132½. The 14-year veteran, 34, is a seven-time Pro Bowl performer.

Len Pasquarelli is a senior NFL writer for ESPN.com. Information from The Associated Press was included in this report.

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