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Injured Giants DT Tuck says he'll be ready for Cowboys

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Playing through pain is something Justin Tuck is just used to. The New York Giants defensive lineman didn't miss a game last season, in fact, despite a damaged shoulder courtesy of Cowboys left tackle Flozell Adams.

So it should come as no surprise, that although he missed practice on Friday with an ankle sprain, Tuck has no intentions of missing Monday's pivotal NFC East showdown with Dallas (1-4).

"I'll be out (at practice) tomorrow," Tuck said Friday. "I'll play."

If he makes it into Monday night's game in Dallas, he will be denied a crack at revenge against Adams, the beefy left tackle who laid him out with an intentional trip, causing a torn labrum that required offseason surgery. The injury hampered him the whole season, limiting the versatile end's production to 74 tackles and six sacks.

Adams, considered one of the dirtiest offensive linemen in the league, has since left for the Pittsburgh Steelers. But Tuck said just playing on Monday against the Cowboys is enough motivation.

"It doesn't make a difference to me whether he's there or not there," Tuck said. "I'm going to go out there and play the game the same way I know how to. I'll tell you this. When people ask you questions like that, you should play every game the same way. Human nature is, you can't get up as high. But whatever gas you have that day, you leave it on the field. It makes no sense to me. Whenever you go out there, you should play to the best of your abilities."

Tuck was only playing the right side of the defense when he was injured last season, because Osi Umenyiora was not involved in that series. This year, with Umenyiora reverting to his 2007 Pro Bowl form and fellow end Dave Tollefson playing well as the Giants make up for Mathias Kiwanuka's absence with a herniated cervical disc, Tuck probably would not play vs. the left tackle. Adams' position is now manned by Doug Free, but left tackle is the one position Tuck has yet to line up over this year.

He's playing everywhere else, though. Last week against Detroit, in fact, coordinator Perry Fewell even stood him up as a linebacker.

Tuck leads all defensive linemen in tackles with 36. He also has four sacks.

And as far as he's concerned, Adams is deep in the past.

"If you start making it about an individual thing, it's not about that," Tuck said. "It's about the success of your football team. But either way, I could care less whether he's there or not."

His ankle is a much bigger issue for now.

"He was limping a little bit after the (Detroit) game," coach Tom Coughlin said. "But he went through it. Yesterday was fine, and it got sore overnight, evidently. So he just backed off. I expect him to be OK."

Tuck is sure he'll be back for the Giants (4-2).

"It hurt worse today than it did yesterday," he said. "It'll be all right. It's something we've been dealing with for a while now."

Notes: Linebacker Keith Bulluck, out the last three games with turf toe, worked with the first unit and proclaimed himself ready to go Monday. ... WR Hakeem Nicks and FB Madison Hedgecock spent practice on the stationary bikes along with Tuck. Both have hamstring issues, Hedgecock a strain, and Nicks tightness. Coughlin is hopeful Nicks will return Saturday.

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press

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