By his own admission, it looks like the New York Giants should not be counting on Nick Gates to be part of the solution for their woeful offensive line in 2022.
Gates, the Giants starting center in 2020 and the beginning of the 2021 season, suffered a devastating leg injury in Week 2 against the Washington Football Team, breaking both his tibia and fibula after moving to left guard to replace the injured Shane Lemieux.
Named a team captain by the Giants at the beginning of the season, the 26-year-old had multiple surgeries to repair the damage. Speaking to reporters on Monday, Gates admitted he was confined almost entirely to a bed for roughly two months following the injury.
Asked if he feared his career might be over, Gates gave an honest answer.
“I couldn’t tell you,” Gates said. “I’m still just taking it day-by-day. That’s my plan is to get back on the field as fast as possible. I don’t know if it’s gonna be this year or whenever, but just taking it day-by-day.”
Gates’ situation recalls what happened to former Giant offensive lineman Rich Seubert. In the middle of the 2003 season, Seubert suffered a devastating leg injury of his own. He missed all of the 2004 season, played in four games at the end of the 2005 season and finally resumed a full-time starting role for the Giants once again in 2006.
“I’m making good steps and good strides in my rehab,” Gates reiterated. “I can’t really tell you a specific time I’m going to be back or not.”
With Gates and Lemieux missing most of the season and projected right tackle Matt Peart underperforming, the Giants’ offensive line was a mess all season. Football Outsiders ranked the Giants 31st in run blocking and 26th in pass protection for the 2021 season.
With Gates’ status obviously uncertain, the Giants have only left tackle Andrew Thomas as a certain building block for their 2022 offensive line.