Thursday, January 9, 2014

Giants’ David Wilson to undergo neck surgery: Report

New York Giants running back David Wilson’s 2013 season came to an early end because of a neck injury that doctors told him carried an increased risk of further problems if he continued playing. Now his NFL future could be in jeopardy after Giants GM Jerry Reese revealed the former first-round pick will undergo neck surgery next week.

Wilson said during the season that he intends to keep playing, but he’ll need to rehab from surgery before he can do that.

Reese told WFAN Thursday, that Wilson will need to have an operation on his neck this offseason. Team owner John Mara, speaking on the same radio station earlier in the day, also touched on Wilson’s status.

“We’re hopeful that David will be able to play for us again next year. Time will tell on that one,” Mara said.

There was no timetable given for when the surgery will occur or when Wilson might be ready to resume his career. His status is murky at best, though, and that should make running back an area that the Giants address the offseason because an Andre Brown/Michael Cox combination isn’t a particularly appealing one for a team with lots of other holes to fill.

“Our medical staff thinks he will be ready to play this year,’’ general manager Jerry Reese said Thursday on WFAN while noting that dealing with the neck can be “tricky.’’

Wilson played in the first six games of the 2013 season. He started at running back Oct. 6 against the Eagles, rushed six times for 16 yards and scored his first and only touchdown before leaving the game in the second quarter of a 36-21 loss with a neck injury.

He was inactive the next three games and then put on season-ending injured reserve with what the Giants said was a herniated disk in his neck. Wilson, as it turns out, also has spinal stenosis, a narrowing of the spine, which is a chronic condition he played through at Virginia Tech and in his rookie season with the Giants.

The Giants and Wilson were hoping to avoid surgery, on the chance that rest and treatment alone would reduce the herniated disk. That was always considered a long-shot scenario, and now a surgical procedure has been deemed necessary.

Mara said it is likely the Giants will have to use one of their draft picks on a running back. Reese has said previously the Giants cannot go into the 2014 season projecting Wilson as their No. 1 running back.

Wilson was not very effective even when he was healthy in his second NFL season. Coach Tom Coughlin benched him after Wilson lost two fumbles in a season-opening loss in Dallas. Wilson ended up with 44 rushing attempts and 146 yards.

This doesn't bode well for the Giants at the running back position. Their other key back, Andre Brown, faded down the stretch of the season and is an unrestricted free agent. Brandon Jacobs retired, and veteran addition Peyton Hillis, a free agent, is not expected to return. The only other running back on the roster is Michael Cox, who just completed a lackluster rookie year.

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