Ross frustrated hammy sidelining him

Updated: August 19, 2009, 6:02 PM ET
Associated Press

ALBANY, N.Y. -- With the first preseason game over and the second fast approaching, New York Giants cornerback Aaron Ross is getting frustrated.

A starter most of his two NFL seasons, Ross has been forced to watch practice for about a week while dealing with a strained hamstring.

The former first-round draft pick was given the OK to test the hamstring during a light workout Wednesday morning and came away disappointed. The hamstring not only wasn't good, it was only about 80 percent healed -- and that's likely to hurt Ross' chances of playing this weekend in Chicago.

"I hate it. I hate it. I hate it. I hate it. I hate it. I hate it," Ross said over and over. "It is frustrating. It is very frustrating. You are sitting out there. I can walk. I can jog. I can do everything that makes it seem like it's OK. But as soon as I go out there, it lets you know you are not ready."

Ross can't say specifically when he was hurt. It was the cumulative effect of all the running in the opening week of camp at the University at Albany.

An MRI was performed on Monday and the doctors said it was just a strain.

"A hamstring, you rush them back and you end up hurt again," Ross said between practices. "I think right now, talking it over with the doctors, the thing is to have me healthy by Week 1. I want to be out there playing, so I am torn between going out there practicing and playing, and trying to get the feel before Week 1. But the other side is I would be jeopardizing me being healthy in Week 1."

What makes the injury even more upsetting to Ross is that this is the season he and fellow starting cornerback Corey Webster hoped to take over as the leaders of the secondary.

For the past two years, Sam Madison and R.W. McQuarters were the veterans the young guys turned to for advice. Madison and McQuarters were not re-signed after last season and their jobs seemingly were inherited by Ross and Webster.

However, both have missed practice the past week with Webster being bothered by a hip problem. He was back on the field on Wednesday morning, but he did not show up for lunch, when players are interviewed.

"That's what we kept telling each other, one of us has to be back," Ross said of their time on the sidelines. "The docs, they know what is more important. As football players we sometimes try to be macho and get out there and hurt ourselves even more. It's good thing that we have a good training staff."

Ross and Webster spent most of Monday night working with the defensive backs during the Giants' 24-17 preseason win over the Carolina Panthers.

"We had the plays, so me and Corey got the paper and looked at the plays and went over it with them," Ross said. "We were able to help them, and it helped us at the same time because we got to see the plays that Carolina was running. It kept us in tune with the game."

Ross said he needs to get back to practice to be ready for the season opener against Washington on Sept. 13. He has no problem understanding the defense, but he said it's tough to be physically ready without practicing.

"Hamstrings are sensitive, soft tissue," Ross said. "So I don't know when it is going to hurt. I explode and sometimes it hurts, and sometimes it doesn't."

Not everything has gone wrong for Ross over the past week. His fiancee, Sanya Richards, shook off the disappointment of a third-place finish at the Beijing Olympics last year and won her first major title, capturing the 400 meters at the world championships in Berlin.

Coach Tom Coughlin alluded to Ross and Richards when he spoke to the Albany football team after the morning practice.

"What does that mean to any of us?" Coughlin said of her accomplishment. "We know our game and we know our business. Perseverance is huge. This gal demonstrated that she is a great example for all of us. You don't let other people tell you who you are. You believe in yourselves, you believe in each other, you fight for each other, you demand for each other and make sure that you are all on the same page. This is what our great game is all about."

For Ross, his game is about getting his hamstring back in shape. Watching practice isn't fun.

"Yes. I hate it. It makes practice longer," Ross said. "You see your teammates out there and they are grinding and sweating. I worked hard this summer so I could make it through camp, and a little hamstring.... I'll get it better."

But at this point, even Ross is not ready to predict that he will be ready for Week 1.


Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press