It is officially time to begin worrying about the future of New York Giants' wide receiver Steve Smith. That is because in a conversation Thursday with Ralph Vacchiano of the New York Daily News it seemed pretty obvious Smith is worried about himself as he tries to recover from micro-fracture knee surgery.
"It’s a serious injury," Smith said. "... I’ve got to wait and see til I’m done running. Probably I’m going to have to change a little bit this year, so we’ll see."
Athletes speak in code often times, meaning you have to interpret much of what they say. So, what does Smith, the team's all-time leader in receptions for a single season (107 in 2009) mean when he says "I'm going to have to change a little bit"?
What I read right there is Smith saying "I might not be the same player." Does that mean he isn't sure he will be able to make the same quick, sharp cuts he is used to making to get open? Does it mean he is worried about having the explosion to get off the line of scrimmage? Does it mean limited snaps? Does it mean when there are balls thrown toward him in traffic that he might not be willing or able to sell out in an effort to catch them? No way to know for sure.Smith's micro-fracture surgery was to repair damage in his left knee to something called the articular cartilage. In talking to Vacchiano, Smith admitted feeling like Giants safety Kenny Phillips, who underwent micro-fracture surgery himself in 2009, was not the same player in 2010 that he had been before the injury.
Whatever Smith was referring to Thursday night, clearly he has questions in his own mind about what kind of player he can be in 2011. Hopefully, Smith gets healthy, feels great and puts his own doubts to rest in 2011. But, what if he doesn't?
Where does this leave the Giants? Do they have enough at wide receiver even if Smith isn't up to full time duty, or up to his old standards? Ramses Barden tweeted Thursday that he is "ahead of schedule" in his own recovery from ankle surgery.
What the Giants do in the upcoming draft will tell you a lot about how the Giants feel about their receiver situation. For me, that just got a whole lot more interesting.