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Giants OT Andrews isn't ready to quit, even with back problems

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- One of the first things that Shawn Andrews will do before Sunday's game in Washington against the Redskins is take pain medication.

The New York Giants' offensive tackle will receive an injection of toradol. The medication relieves moderately severe pain.

Andrews needs it to play. The seven-year veteran, who turned 28 on Christmas, has undergone two back surgeries and recently missed three games because of back pain.

He is in the lineup this week because Pro Bowl center Shaun O'Hara aggravated a left Achilles' tendon injury. Rich Seubert was moved from left guard to center, and David Diehl will slide from left tackle to left guard. Andrews will take over Diehl's starting spot for the second time this season.

"I'm exercising, working on my core strength and doing what I have to do so that I can stay in for the length of the game," Andrews said Friday after the Giants (9-6) finished what might be their final practice of the season. "Of course, I don't know what is going to happen, but I put my all into it, as I always have. I expect to finish the game and finish it strong and do well."

Andrews also spoke about "doing the extra pregame stuff" that helps him make it through the game. That's the shot of toradol.

"I am going to get an injection, that is no question," Andrews said. "An injection is definitely going to happen, and then the heat pads on my back and couple of other things we have that will aid in keeping me well."

Andrews started counting on his fingers and then looked down at his toes when asked about the number of injections he has taken this season. He said it was greater than his fingers and toes, and not all have worked.

"I have to time (the injection) right," he said. "I think two weeks ago I got the shot right before we went out for the kickoff (Dec. 19 against the Philadelphia Eagles), and it didn't kick in until I got home.

"I'm serious, man. I'm sitting there on the couch and feeling good. Now I get it as soon as I go (to the stadium), right when I get there so it can kick in and resonate throughout my body."

Andrews also has had three treatments with an epidural injection. He was hospitalized in late November because the back pain was so severe Nov. 21 against the Eagles. He missed the next three games and has seen limited action in the last two.

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Although he knows having to take shots before games can't be good for his body in the long term, Andrews says he takes them because he is "living in the now."

Andrews' back injury caused him to miss all but two games in the 2008 and '09 seasons, and the Eagles released him last spring. He didn't land a job until the Giants signed him at the end of training camp.

Andrews was doing well until his back problems flared again in November. He has been examined by a surgeon who told him the latest issue doesn't appear serious. But it does weigh on his mind.

"Me and my body are talking it out right now," Andrews said. "We're seeing where we are. We're seeing right now we have the Redskins, and that's where we are."

To make the playoffs, the Giants must win or tie Sunday and need the Chicago Bears to beat the Green Bay Packers. Otherwise, New York will miss the postseason for a second consecutive year, and Andrews would return to his home in California to strengthen his back.

Andrews said his struggles this season have increased his passion to stay in the game. He won't leave until he's told to pack up, and he hopes that won't be until his contract expires in six years.

"I just want to go out on a good note," he said. "No one wants bad things said about them and all of that. The past is the past. But I am just doing this for my family, my teammates and me, because I know I still have a lot of great football left."

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press

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