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Frozen tundra, frozen toes: Winter freeze takes its toll

All week long, the Giants were asked about the challenge of playing at Lambeau Field in Sunday's NFC divisional playoff game.

You're on the road.

Crazy Packers fans are bopping to and fro with artificial wedges of cheese on their heads.

And it's stone-cold freezing out.

The "frozen tundra" line largely is a myth, but the winter chill does things to the human body. Troubling things.

"When it is cold, your body tends to shunt blood away from your extremities," Adam Bennett, the Chicago Bears' team doctor, told The New York Times this week. "It tries to keep your blood central, around the organs. It wants to conserve heat there. So your fingers can go numb a little faster and your toes can go numb a little faster."

Sub-zero temperatures affect a player's ability to breathe and feel, according to The Times, and everyone from Eli Manning to Jason Pierre-Paul will battle "a persistent though not necessarily overwhelming sensation ... to urinate," the newspaper reported.

Hear that, Big Blue?

"I can't say I've ever noticed that," Giants center David Baas said. "But now that you've got me thinking about it ... Don't even tell me about that. It'll just make me have to go on Sunday."

Luckily for the Giants, the Packers are human (at least against the Chiefs they were) and dealing with the same quirky, cold-weather challenges to the body.

People still ask Giants coach Tom Coughlin about his ruddy, battered face during the 2007 NFC Championship Game, played at Lambeau in temperatures that dipped close to 30 below. Tom Brickner, a former medical director of the United States Antarctic Program, told The Times that Coughlin probably suffered from a condition known as chilblains, causing blood vessels to become inflamed, as opposed to frostbite.

Coughlin, for one, couldn't care less. The old-school coach doesn't plan to wear a mask Sunday and, besides, the Giants won that frigid battle -- red-faced and all -- en route to glory in Super Bowl XLII.

Now the Giants and Packers meet again, and nobody's come this far to let a little cold weather deep six their dream.

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