EAST RUTHERFORD NJ - SEPTEMBER 12: Matt Moore #3 of the Carolina Panthers is sacked in the fourth quarter by Mathias Kiwanuka #94 of the New York Giants on September 12 2010 at the New Meadowlands Stadium in East Rutherford New Jersey. The Giants defeated the Panthers 31-18. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
[UPDATED]: Time for some better news, Giants fans. After a providing a bleak assessment Saturday morning of defensive end Mathias Kiwanuka's prospects of continuing his career, GM Jerry Reese released a statement saying the pending free agent has been cleared by doctors to return to the field.
“After I spoke to the media this morning at the combine, I had a conversation with (head trainer) Ronnie Barnes, who confirmed for me that last night we did receive the final written evaluation that gives Mathias medical clearance to return to the field,” Reese said in a statement issued through team’s PR department. “The consensus of all of the spine physicians and Dr. (Russ) Warren is that it is safe for Mathias to return to play. I have talked to Mathias and he is fully committed to returning to football.”
New York Giants defensive end Mathias Kiwanuka is not "out of the woods yet" after suffering a season-ending herniated disk in his neck, general manager Jerry Reese said Saturday.
In a press conference at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianpolis, Reese said that while Kiwanuka has received good reports from doctors as he continues rehab, no decision has been made regarding if he can or will play next season.
Reese acknowledged there is a possibility that Kiwanuka may never play again.
"He's been all over the place trying to get the right information so he can make the best decision on if he's going to play again next fall," Reese said today at the NFL's scouting combine. "I think there's a couple more doctors he wants to get some confirmation from, and our doctors want to huddle up and make sure everybody's saying the same thing and on the same page with him."
He did say, though, that if doctors clear Kiwanuka, he will probably play. Reese also referenced former Giants linebacker Antonio Pierce and the similar neck injury he suffered in 2009.
"Who knows when you talk about neck injuries," Reese said. "(Former Giants linebacker Antonio Pierce) had a neck injury, and boom, it was over just like that. Neck injuries are serious injuries, and you've got to be careful."
Kiwanuka is a free agent, or should be, pending the labor situation. The Giants have previously indicated that they would like to resign him.
Head coach Tom Coughlin said that Kiwanuka would not need surgery, and that he has been working at the team facility with the training staff.
While this news isn't entirely pessimistic, it's hard to cast a completely positive picture for Kiwanuka moving forward. How can the Giants really offer him anything more than a one-year deal? Also, there might be questions regarding Kiwanuka's will to play after suffering such a serious injury. Reese simply stated he believes Kiwanuka will play if cleared by doctors.
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