Umenyiora's knee checks out fine; contract status still up in air

While it appears Osi Umenyiora is one step closer to taking the field with the New York Giants after several weeks of drama, his contract impasse with the team remains deadlocked.

Umenyiora's agent, Tony Agnone, said Thursday that his client received a favorable second opinion after having his injured left knee examined in Atlanta and hoped to practice with the team Monday, the *New York Post* reported.

According to Agnone, the doctors in Atlanta shared the Giants staff's opinion that Umenyiora's knee can be managed through rest, not immediate surgery.

"We were hoping it would be the same recommendation the Giants gave us," Agnone told the Post. "I think you're always happy about that."

Umenyiora, a two-time Pro Bowl defensive end, worked with team trainers at practice Wednesday, but he hasn't actually practiced since reporting to training camp July 30, one day later. Umenyiora left the field roughly 40 minutes into the practice to head for a flight to Atlanta to have the knee examined.

A person familiar with Umenyiora's status told *The Star-Ledger* that he's dealing with a meniscus cartilage issue that could require surgery. The person requested anonymity because the extent of the injury hasn't been made public.

While his health situation is squared away, Umenyiora told The Associated Press in an email Thursday there has been "no real progress" in contract talks with the Giants.

A couple of hours after the email, Giants general manager Jerry Reese offered a little hope by saying he expected to have Umenyiora back in the fold for this season.

"That situation, I won't make any comments on it," Reese said after practice. "There are still some issues we are trying to resolve. But we expect him to be back."

When asked if Monday was a possibility, Reese said it might be.

Umenyiora, 29, has been unhappy with his contract and maintains that Reese told him after last season that the team would rework the deal, which was to pay the nine-year veteran $7.1 million over the next two seasons.

Umenyiora had an outstanding season in 2010, tying Justin Tuck for the team lead with 11.5 sacks while leading the league with 10 forced fumbles.

Through it all, Giants coach Tom Coughlin has been optimistic that Umenyiora might practice soon and is looking for closure on the situation.

"I hope we get some closure on that chapter and start on the new one," Coughlin told The AP on Wednesday, adding that he has frequently talked to Umenyiora, encouraged him and told him to try to get on the field as soon as possible.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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