The game of football is structured in such a way that when an injury happens, it's the next man up.

But when an injury happens to a player who is so well respected by his coaches and teammates like offensive lineman Nick Gates, that player will be very much a part of the show even if he can't be there on the front line.

"Nick’s a key figure for us, he really is," Giants head coach Joe Judge said. "He’s a guy that the entire time we’ve been here he’s been a team-first guy, he’s been an all-in guy, he’s a guy that comes to work every day with a great amount of energy and enthusiasm. We’re still going to rely on him to do that."

As he did last year with Saquon Barkley after the running back suffered a devastating season-ending torn ACL, Judge wants Gates around the team as much as possible to continue providing leadership and his expertise in helping his teammates.

"This guy was voted captain by his teammates for a reason and that’s for leadership. This guy has done a lot of unselfish things and I believe he’ll continue to have an impact on the team," Judge said.

Gates suffered a horrific-looking broken leg injury in the first quarter and was carted off the field. He underwent surgery on Friday morning at Inova Fairfax Hospital in Virginia and had yet to be discharged as of Monday afternoon.

Over the weekend, the tough-as-nails Gates shared a video on his Instagram account of him taking his first steps post-surgery with the aid of a walker.

Judge claimed he wasn't sure about what exactly Gates' surgery entailed, but he did say, "I just know it was a traumatic injury. There’s going to be a great deal of recovery involved with that. We’re going to do everything we can as an organization to help Nick through it."

That includes allowing Gates to be a part of the team as much as possible.

"Everyone knows how hard he works, everyone knows his journey, his road of getting here, what he’s had to overcome. No one wants to see Nick lose an opportunity," Judge said.

"We’re all thinking long-term right now for Nick. He won’t play this season obviously, but we’re all thinking long-term for Nick and what’s best for him individually. We’re going to do everything we can as an organization and as a team to support him and help him along the way."


Hope for Shane Lemieux's Return

Judge said he’s “very hopeful” that offensive lineman Shane Lemieux, who was placed on injured reserve last week with a knee ailment, can return at some point this season.

“From everything we’ve talked about, we can’t rule anything out right now in terms of something being over,” Judge said when asked if there was a chance of Lemieux returning from a reported partially torn patellar tendon in his knee.

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“He’ll obviously have to wait and see how his body responds. I’m very hopeful that he can come back.”

Judge said surgery hasn’t been ruled out for Lemieux, who tried to rest and rehab the injury before the start of training camp only to have the setback when he tried playing on it in the tea’s Week 1 loss to the Broncos. “I know he’s talking to the doctor about a couple of different procedures right now, so we’ll see where that goes.


Position Switch in Matt Peart's Future?

Although veteran Nate Solder won the starting right tackle job, the initial plan was for Solder to share a few snaps with Matt Peart, the second-year man out of UConn who was the Giants' third-round pick last year.

After getting a handful of snaps in the Week 1 opener, Peart didn't get any offensive snaps last week against Washington, raising questions about where he might fit in.

"We’re going to rotate Matt on through the tackle position," Judge said, noting that Solder had been doing too good of a job in that game to interrupt his snaps for a rotation.

Judge also revealed that the coaches have been cross-training Peart at guard. "Yeah, we’ll kind of take a look at him )maybe playing some stuff inside as we get going right here. We’ll kind of work around through practice these next few days and kind of see where things shake out."


Evan Engram Update

Last week Judge held out hope that tight end Evan Engram might be ready to play after missing Week 1 with a calf strain.

Engram ended up not being able to practice, but he was out there on Monday for the team's light walkthrough, moving around as much as he has since suffering his injury.

So where does that leave him for Sunday's game?

"We’ll see where he’s at physically in terms of where we can push him through practice," Judge said before practice.

"We’ll see what that looks like today in terms of having a better view of what the weekend may hold, but he’s making consistent improvements. He’s been doing a good job with the trainers. Everything he’s been asked to do, he’s done, so it’s moving in the right direction."

Judge declined to give any indication about whether Engram is on track for this weekend. The giants don't have to issue an injury report until Wednesday, but the hope is he'll be able to work at least on a limited basis.


Giants Hold Workouts for Free Agents

The Giants were set to work out a group of free agents including one-time Carolina Panther Mike Horton, former Panthers running back Reggie Bonnafon, former 49ers offensive lineman Corbin Kaufusi, former Rams safety Steven Parker, former Packers punter J.K. Scott, defensive end Jason Strowbridge, one-time Ravens kicking prospect Kaare Vedvik, one-time Rams punting prospect Brandon Wright and offensive lineman Cole Banwart.


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