Skip to main content

Giants Pro Bowl center O'Hara likely back for game vs. Eagles

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The New York Giants' offensive line apparently will receive another makeover.

Two-time Pro Bowl center Shaun O'Hara appears like he'll be back Sunday for the Giants (9-4) in their NFC East showdown with the Philadelphia Eagles (9-4).

O'Hara practiced on a limited basis Thursday and Friday and sounded confident that he would play for the first time since being sidelined with a sprained right foot six games ago.

If O'Hara starts at center, Rich Seubert would move back to left guard. Kevin Boothe started at left guard last week.

"I feel good," O'Hara said after practice Friday. "I feel relevant again, which is nice, and I'm looking forward to being with my teammates and contributing. Hopefully, I can play half as good as Rich."

This has been a season of musical chairs for New York's offensive line, with only right guard Chris Snee and right tackle Kareem McKenzie starting all 13 games at the same position. Seubert has started all 13, but the first seven were at left guard and the last six at center.

There have been six starting combinations with Adam Koets (injured reserve, knee), Will Beatty, Shawn Andrews and Boothe all receiving starts in the combinations. If O'Hara returns, it will mark just the fifth time this season that the Week 1 line of Diehl, Seubert, O'Hara, Snee and Mackenzie will start.

Seubert, the prankster of the group, couldn't help himself when he saw O'Hara walk into the locker room after lifting weights.

"Attention media," Seubert yelled across the room, "Shaun O'Hara is at his locker."

O'Hara smirked and shook his head. He's glad to be back, though.

"What a long, strange trip it's been," the 11-year veteran said. "It's been frustrating; it's been tough. It's been day to day, week to week. Last week, I was able to do a little bit more, and I was hoping to have a shot last week. It just wasn't ready. But this week, it's definitely felt better. I was able to do much more this week. It gave us all confidence that I can make it through."

O'Hara made last weekend's roundabout road trip that included a stopover in Kansas City and eventually a game against the Minnesota Vikings in Detroit on Monday night because snow collapsed the roof of the Metrodome.

"It's something we'll all remember forever," he said, "and when Rich writes his book, I'm sure he'll have a chapter just for that trip."

Giants coach Tom Coughlin listed O'Hara as questionable, which means he has a 50 percent chance of playing. But Seubert was confident that O'Hara would be ready.

"He's been waiting for this for a long time. It's not fun watching," Seubert said. "It's not fun sitting on the bike waiting to get back. You want to come back and it's good to have him back out there. We've been poking him in the ribs a little bit here and there just to welcome him back on the offensive line."

The question for Coughlin, though, is should he change the line? The Giants, after all, have rushed for 197 and 213 yards the past two games. But O'Hara, 33, has been a fixture since 2004, so having the veteran line together for a major game might outweigh those concerns.

O'Hara said his foot is about as good as it is going to get. There is some rust, but he expects to knock it off quickly.

"Something about playing the Eagles makes you feel better all over," O'Hara said. "It's a huge game. It's the biggest game of the year so far. Everybody's excited. We're at home. This is possibly our last home game. We're asking our fans to bring their 'A' game, and we're going to bring our 'A' game."

For more on the New York Giants, check out the latest from our bloggers.

The Giants struggled to run the ball against the Philadelphia Eagles in a 27-17 loss on Nov. 21. New York was limited to 61 yards on 19 carries.

With wide receiver Steve Smith (knee) sidelined for the season and Mario Manningham bothered by a hip injury, the importance of the running game can't be stressed enough.

"One of the things we talk about is, 'If we can get our running backs to the safeties, we have some of the best running backs in the league," O'Hara said of Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw. "They're going to make a guy miss. If they make one guy miss, it's going to be a 20-yard run. That's what we try to do."

Coughlin said he would check with O'Hara on Saturday to see how he felt. O'Hara laughed when told.

"Unless somebody grabs me on the way to my car," he said, "I don't think anything is going to change before tomorrow."

Notes: Andrews (back), LB Michael Boley (shoulder) and WR Devin Thomas (hamstring) also practiced on a limited basis and were listed as questionable. Manningham (hip), Snee (hip) and DEs Justin Tuck (abdomen) and Osi Umenyiora (knee) are probable. ... Umenyiora was fined $12,500 by the NFL for roughing Minnesota Vikings QB Tarvaris Jackson late in the fourth quarter Monday night.

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.