New York Giants starting left tackle Andrew Thomas made his long-awaited return to the practice field on Wednesday. Thomas has missed the last six games as he’s struggled to overcome the hamstring injury he suffered way back in the season opener against the Dallas Cowboys.
The Giants had hoped that Thomas would make his return against the Seattle Seahawks, but he suffered a setback in practice during the week. We got a report prior to the Giants’ win over the Washington Commanders that Thomas would return to practice this week and the team hopes he will make his return this week against the New York Jets.
“Not too bad today,” Thomas said when asked how he felt after his first practice in weeks. “First time I’ve put on a helmet in a while, so that was a good feeling being out there with my teammates again. More than I’ve been doing by myself with the (athletic) trainers and stuff like that. Just continue to stress it and see how it responds.
“I want to be on the field. We only have a few opportunities that are guaranteed each season and I’ve missed quite a few of them so it doesn’t feel good, but I can’t change that. All I can do is just continue to get better.”
Thomas said that it felt good to get back on the field, but declined to say that he would definitely play against the New York Jets on Sunday. He said that he “won’t make any projections”. Instead, he’s doing what the training staff says and will wait and see how his hamstring responds on Thursday.
That said, Thomas did mention that his last attempted comeback felt different.
“I think it was different and it didn’t work out,” he said. “So just trying to keep a positive mindset because it is frustrating not being able to go, but like I said I can’t control that, all I can do is continue to do what they are asking me to.
“The biggest thing for me is, as the offensive line is obviously to feel the pressure of what it’s like to be in the game, stopping the bull rush, moving somebody off the ball, which is why I asked the trainers to be out there and get some reps, try to do something that way I know.”
The Giants were forced to make do and rely on a series of patch-work offensive lines while Thomas (and the rest of the Giants’ injured linemen) get healthy. For his part, Thomas
“I think they’ve done a tremendous job, it’s not easy what they’ve been asked to do. All the injuries that we’ve had, all the switching positions, and all those things. It’s not easy to overcome, but we have a tight-knit group and I think we are starting to gel.”
In particular, Thomas appreciates the work of Justin Pugh in his return to the Giants. Pugh was signed to fill in at guard with Ben Bredeson moving from guard to center with the injury to John Michael Schmitz. However, Pugh was forced to play left tackle when Joshua Ezeudu suffered a toe injury.
“Just an amazing performance by him, a veteran presence,” Thomas said. “Not expecting him to go out there and do that and for him to be able to accomplish what he did. It’s great for our team, it’s great for the morale of the o-line.”
Thomas also noted that Pugh has quickly become a leader on the Giants’ offensive line, saying, “He’s a leader in our room. [He] has a lot of experience, so we definitely appreciate it.”
“Honestly, just trying to stay level-headed because if it feels great, my emotions are high, then I’ll be feeling great and then if it’s not, then I’m going to be down. So, I’m just trying to stay level-headed and just roll with the punches.
“Just trying to work every day. This is my first time on the field today, so we’ll see how it responds tomorrow and I’ll know a little bit better.”