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By: Chris Pflum
The Giants get their starting left guard back from injury
New York Giants guard Shane Lemieux returned to the practice field on Tuesday. The Giants’ presumptive starting left guard was carted off the field with a knee injury back on July 29th.
While things were tense with immediate concerns over the Giants’ depth on the offensive line, the team quickly got good news. Lemieux had only suffered a “minor” injury despite needing to be carted off the field and would only miss a “couple weeks”.
Fast forward nearly two weeks, and Lemieux is back on the field.
“It’s one day at a time,” Lemieux said after Tuesday’s practice. “It’s good to be back out here with the guys. I’m enjoying it. Training camp’s different now. I get to see faces of my teammates. I get to know the guys. Getting with [Offensive Line Coach] Rob Sale, [Assistant Offensive Line] Coach Ben [Wilkerson], Coach Flats [Offensive Consultant Pat Flaherty], it’s going good. Really enjoying this.”
Not that he was enjoying himself when he went down with what he said was a “weird plant” that you “couldn’t even see on film.”
“Oh, I was mad,” he said. “It’s whatever. It happened when it happened. I’m just trusting the treatment staff and the plan and the process to get back.” But what was he mad about? As he puts it, missing practice reps.
It’s never good to see players carted off of the field (to say the least). The image of Victor Cruz being carted off the field in Philadelphia is seared into the minds of many Giants fans. It’s a scary time for fans and the team, and many players report the ride as one of the loneliest times of their career.
“I didn’t feel sorry for myself at all. It’s not like that. I was worried about, crap, I didn’t get my other one-on-one rep or crap, I didn’t get in the last team period,” Lemieux said. “In my mind I was thinking I’m missing valuable opportunities to get better at this practice. That’s all that was going through my head.”
Of course, Lemeiux has an avowed love of practice. “I like to practice,” he said. “I like to practice. I like to work. I want to get better every single day and I’m just taking it a day at a time.”
While Lemieux helped the Giants’ running game as a rookie and played well enough to hang on to the starting job after Will Hernandez contracted COVID-19, there’s still room for him to get better as a player. The good news — in addition to his work ethic and love of practice — is that Lemieux knows he needs to get better.
“I think every single year through my football career, every offseason there’s highs and lows. There’s things you can take into the offseason,” Lemieux said. “I had some struggles last year, but I think every single year since I was a little kid, I had struggles, so taking them not in a negative view, but saying, ‘OK, this is an opportunity where I can come in and fix my game this year.’ It’s not a negative, don’t put it in a negative. Take it next year and build off of it and there’s positives to build off of, too, so it’s keeping it even keel. Not taking the bads and not taking the goods, just staying right down the middle and continuing to get better.
“I know what I got to work on and that’s the biggest key right now is knowing practice to practice where you’re lacking, what you’ve got to work on that day. You can’t focus on 10 different things in practice, you’ve got to focus on one thing so you can get better at it every single day.”