After getting a third opinion, the projected starting cornerback has decided to try to rehabilitate his injured right knee rather than have surgery.
Thomas saw noted orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews on Monday, and he concurred with the advice that the five-year veteran received from Dr. Arthur Ting in California and the Giants medical staff on how to approach the injury.
"The suggestion on the part of the doctors is that we try to rehab him and see how he does and if he can get back on the field," coach Tom Coughlin said after practice. "He is coming back to camp and he will jump into a rehab program and we'll watch him very, very closely and we'll hope to accelerate the strength of the knee and see how soon he can join us, and hope for the very best."
Coughlin said Thomas, who led the Giants in tackles in 2009 and 2010, was en route back to camp. He was not immediately available for comment. The team said he would address the media Tuesday.
Thomas missed last season after tearing his right anterior cruciate ligament in a preseason game. He had reconstructive surgery, and pushed himself to be ready for training camp at the University at Albany. But he experienced swelling in the knee after the team's third practice, a week ago Sunday. There was concern that his career was in jeopardy after his third ACL injury. He also hurt it at USC.
The Giants' initial report said Thomas sustained an injury to his ACL. Coughlin could not expound on the medical opinions that Thomas received, saying he was trying to give a consensus of the findings. Coughlin did say, though, that doctors did not perform arthroscopic surgery in making their diagnosis.
Coughlin refused to speculate how long it will take Thomas to rehabilitate his knee, or whether the 27-year-old will be able to cut and make the moves that are required of an NFL cornerback.
"That would be wonderful if he went out there and did all the zig-zags and came off and had no swelling and felt great and said: 'OK, what's next'," Coughlin said. "But I can't tell you what the answer will be when he tries to do all that."
Coughlin admitted the news was the best possible since the injury. But nothing is certain.
Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press