There were a few injuries early this offseason that caused most (if not all) New York Giants fans to hold their breath and pray to the football gods. One of those was the injury fullback Henry Hynoski dealt with.
Three months ago Hynoski underwent surgery for a injury to his medial collateral ligament and a chip fracture to the lateral plateau on his left knee. Thursday he was removed from the PUP list and is eligible to practice.
"It feels good," said Hynoski. "I'm very happy to be out here with my teammates and just get out here moving around and doing somethings."
Hynoski is entering his third professional season and his second as a full-time starter. He has proved himself to be a premier blocking fullback in the NFL and an important piece of the offense. Hynoski is the lead run blocker for the Giants, and though the running backs have been playing well this preseason there have been times where it's clear Hynoski was missed in the backfield.
"I think [returning] came at a good time because we do have some key guys out now, especially with [David] Diehl being down," said Hynoski. "So the more blockers we can get in there, especially for pass protection, the better. We've got to protect our quarterback."
Hynoski was given a timetable of 12 weeks to return to the active roster and today's return is almost to the date. Reports throughout his recovery have been positive with no setbacks which turned out to be excellent news for the Giants.
"The whole time I was told I was always ahead of schedule with just how regimented I was with my rehab and doing all the right things and eating the right foods," said Hynoski. "I did everything to that point just to get back at the earliest possible date and now it's paying off. I'm very excited to be in the position I am today."
Now Hynoski is hoping to be back in time for Week 1 against the Dallas Cowboys on Sept. 8th. However, like his other teammates recovering from injuries, he's taking his time and is only going to return if he's completely ready to go.
"If it takes to Week 2 or 3 that's fine," said Hynoski. "We have a very smart medical staff and trainers and they're going to put my in the right position when they know I'm physically fit to be out there and performing at the best that I can."
Whatever time Hynoski needs to take he should take it. Pro Football Focus called Hynoski the "Secret Superstar" for a reason:
"Without Hynoski, the Giants will miss a reliable pass protector with a growing role in the offense. Most importantly, they'll miss one of the best run-blocking fullbacks in the league. So closely tied to his team's success, The Hynocerous has shown us that the fullback is not yet extinct in the NFL. Let's hope that his days of charging, and dancing, are far from over."
You can follow Kelsey O'Donnell on Twitter @KelsODonnell