Speaking to the media for the first time since "aggravating" his surgically repaired right anterior cruciate ligament, Thomas said Tuesday he might need anywhere from three to eight weeks before he is ready to get back on the field.
With the season opener against Dallas just under a month away, Thomas needs to prove he can play again after missing last season with his ACL injury, then hurting it after three days of training camp. Thomas could be one of the first players to benefit from the NFL's new rules on injured reserve, which will allow a team to place one player on that list after the 53-man roster is decided and then bring him back later in the season.
"Aggravated is the best way to put it," said Thomas. "An ACL is so simple. It's either working or it's not. And mine is still working. Something happened which caused it to swell. They thought it might have been a bone bruise or who knows what it could have been. I guess the basic definition is that I aggravated it."
Sure beats another tear.
Thomas hurt his knee when he slipped during practice on July 29 and it swelled the following day. Initially, the fear was his season and possibly his career might be over with a third ACL injury. The Giants' medical staff initially said he injured his ACL.
However, Dr. Arthur Ting in California examined Thomas and felt the ACL was intact. Dr. James Andrews in Florida concurred.
"The MRI came out negative, but, you know, it just felt a little bit weird," Thomas said. "We all agreed that Dr. Andrews would pretty much have the last word and I went to see him and he didn't see a problem with it."
For now, Thomas plans to rest his knee and wants to work on strengthening his legs, hamstring and quad. He believes he could go out and practice, but that would not be the smartest thing.
"I think the big picture is the season, finding out Week 1, or maybe Week 1," Thomas said. "You never know how this thing's going to heal. But as of right now, we're just taking everything slow."
Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press