MRSA infection leaves Giants' Daniel Fells in dire situation

With the Giants set to take the field tonight to play the 49ers, their tight end Daniel Fells is facing a far more serious battle.

Fells has been hospitalized for more than a week as he battles a persistent Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infection that necessitated being placed in the Intensive Care Unit on Friday. He's since been moved to a private room to have a nurse focus solely on his care.

Fells has had five surgeries, according to a person with knowledge of his condition. More are coming, as doctors try to stave off further infection. As of Saturday night, they were fighting to save his foot, which is at risk given the nature of the infection.

He was placed on Injured Reserve this week, and it remains to be seen if he'll ever play again.

The situation arose, the source said, when Fells suffered a toe injury, then an ankle injury. To treat it, Fells was given a cortisone shot. After a week of ankle and foot pain, Fells' wife took him to the emergency room on Oct. 2 with a 104-degree temperature. There, they found his ankle was infected with MRSA, a dangerous staph infection that is resistant to many antibiotics.

With doctors hoping to avoid amputating his foot, the more urgent fear is that the MRSA has gotten into the bone and that it could travel into his blood. That could have the gravest of consequences.

Giants spokesman Pat Hanlon said "this is a serious situation that has been taken seriously from the beginning. We're all fighting for Daniel." In fact, several Giants officials have visited Fells, including GM Jerry Reese and coach Tom Coughlin.

As a team, the Giants have also reacted, working with infectious disease specialists earlier in the week, and these experts defined protocols to follow in consultation with Duke Infection Control Outreach Network and others locally.

Their locker room, training rooms and meetings rooms were scrubbed and sanitized and players were briefed on precautions and how to prevent the spread of MRSA. Meanwhile, Fells remains away from the team, waging his own fight.

Follow Ian Rapoport on Twitter @RapSheet.

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