The coy smiles, the occasional laughs and the usual 20-or-so minute news conference in front of his locker, followed by a shooting-the-breeze session, were all missing Thursday after Tuck practiced on a limited basis for Sunday's game against the Seattle Seahawks.
Instead, Tuck was sullen. There were no smiles or laughs. His answers to questions were short, some limited to a single word.
The preseason neck injury -- the dreaded stinger -- that has forced the two-time Pro Bowler to miss two games this season is taking a toll. He doesn't know either when he will play again or if his neck will be healthy again this season.
"I mean, they did it before the neck, but it's a little bit more amplified now," said Tuck, who admitted that targeting injuries is common in the NFL. "When you get an advantage or you feel like you've got an advantage in a situation, you try to exploit that. That's what teams are doing."
Tuck wouldn't specifically say who pulled his facemask.
With two games before the Giants (3-1) have a bye, it's conceivable that they could sit Tuck until after the bye to get him healthy.
"Obviously that sounds like the smart thing to do, but we'll see. I don't know," Tuck said. "It's no guarantee that if I sat out until the bye week that I'd be healthy for the rest of the season. So, you've got to go on what you're feeling that day. That's why they call it day to day."
The six-year veteran said he's still not 100 percent, and he probably won't know until Sunday whether he will play against the Seattle Seahawks (1-3).
Tuck changed shoulder pads Thursday, using a set that was tighter and limited his movement. He also changed his facemask, using one with tighter bars, giving opponents less surface to grab it.
Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press