EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The New York Giants are going to have to try to make the playoffs without Jeremy Shockey.
"He's one of our leaders, one of the guys that comes to practice every day," quarterback Eli Manning said. "It's going to be tough to overcome that, and we need someone to step up and hopefully one of these rookie tight ends can do that."
Shockey was hurt on the Giants' first possession of the second half when teammate Amani Toomer rolled into the back of his leg from behind at the end of a running play. The injury was diagnosed as a broken left fibula, the smaller of two bones in the lower portion of the leg.
"We've got a tough challenge ahead of us playing without him," Manning said.
Added coach Tom Coughlin: "To lose him at any time of the season is a huge loss. I feel badly for him."
Shockey was bent backward and immediately lay on the ground in obvious pain, his fists clenched as he grimaced on the turf. He was helped to the sideline by Giants trainers and had his leg immobilized before he was taken in a cart for further examination.
Shockey ripped his wristbands off and threw them as he was carted away.
"It's part of the business, part of the risk you take when you go out there, that you can get injured," defensive end Michael Strahan said. "Losing Shockey is definitely going to hurt because he's not only an emotional leader and all those things, but he also makes plays for you. He's one of our guys that other teams make sure they account for, and that helps other guys out. I know as much of a competitor he is, it's really going to kill him to watch."
Shockey had two catches for 18 yards in the game. One of his replacements could be rookie Kevin Boss, who had two catches for 31 yards, including a 19-yard touchdown.
"All year, I've just been one snap away from happening to step in and contribute," said Boss, who has five catches for 68 yards this season. "I'm just going to continue to do what I've done all season and prepare and continue to get in the film room. I'm confident that I'll be able to step in and help out."
Rookie Michael Matthews could also see an expanded role in Shockey's absence. He has six catches for 28 yards this season.
Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved