Giants CB Ross eager to make his 2009 season debut vs. Falcons

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- After missing the first nine games of the season with a severe hamstring strain, New York Giants cornerback Aaron Ross is poised to make his 2009 debut Sunday against the Atlanta Falcons.

Ross continued to practice at full speed Thursday, his third workout since returning to action. While the Giants' coaching staff hasn't made any determination about Ross' playing status or whether he will be in the starting lineup this weekend, the three-year NFL veteran just wants to be on the field again.

"I'm happy to be out there, and I feel real good," Ross said. "I'm very excited. Whatever the coaches want me to do, I'm ready. I have about three months saved up in me, so I'm ready.

"The plan is that if I'm healthy all the way to Sunday, then I'll be out there and playing," Ross said.

Giants coach Tom Coughlin said he's being a little cautious with Ross.

"We are just going to go and watch him practice, let him put a few practices together," Coughlin said, adding that Ross did "about less than half" of the regular practice regimen.

Ross made his return to the practice field for one day during the Giants' bye week, then began practicing regularly and at full speed in preparation for facing the Falcons.

"Last Wednesday, I felt really rusty," Ross said. "Monday, I felt pretty good, and now I feel really good. I have no idea where and when I'm going to play and how they're going to work me in. But if they call No. 31 (Ross' jersey number), then I'm going to be ready."

Ross said the Giants' training staff worked hard to get him back into playing shape.

"The trainers did a great job of holding me back," Ross said. "Before I could go out there again, I had to strengthen my legs."

Ross also went to see a trainer from Switzerland who has helped his fiancee, world-class sprinter Sanya Richards, in the past. Richards currently is the world's top-ranked runner in the 400-meter dash.

"I dont know his name or how to spell it, but it's probably the reason why I'm doing better now," Ross said. "It's really helped."

More than likely, the Giants will stay with Terrell Thomas and Corey Webster starting at cornerback, with Ross perhaps receiving chances in nickel and dime formations. But after missing so much time with what was first diagnosed as a hamstring strain that was day to day since training camp, Ross wants to be back on the field.

"I'm rested and my legs are strengthened," said Ross, who was jumping up and down in the locker room to prove he was healthy. "It's really been an emotional roller-coaster. I worked hard in the offseason to get ready for training camp and then I get hurt to start off. I never would have thought it would hold me out for three months. It's been extremely frustrating.

"But now, I know I'm back. I don't want to think about it. I don't want to think I have any limitations. I just want to play."

Coughlin said the entire team practiced Thursday, all 53 players on the active roster and the practice squads. It was the first time since the team broke training camp that everyone practiced, including RB Ahmad Bradshaw, who didn't work out Wednesday, but was on the field Thursday, minus the walking boot he had been wearing for his injured ankle and foot.

Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

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