Giants set to plow forward without Finn
Thursday, June 14, 2007
BY MIKE GARAFOLO
Jim Finn's 2007 season is over before it began. And the Fair Lawn native's time with the Giants might be done as well.
Finn, who suffered a shoulder injury last month while blocking a teammate during organized team activities, was placed on injured reserve yesterday after undergoing surgery in Los Angeles on Monday. Finn's agent, Alan Herman, said his client suffered a tear in the back portion of his labrum. Finn had a small tear in the front part of his labrum surgically repaired after the 2005 season.
Herman estimated Finn's recovery time at four to six months, though that doesn't necessarily mean he'll be ready to go by January. Monday's shoulder surgery was the third procedure he's undergone in his career, and he suffers from severe arthritis in the joint.
"Jimmy obviously wants to continue his career," Herman said. "But we'll have to talk to the doctors to see how much damage was done and if he can play football again."
Finn, 30, is signed through the 2009 season, but it's unlikely he'll ever wear a Giants uniform again. The team tried replacing him with restricted free agent Vonta Leach in March, though the Giants lost out on Leach when the Texans matched their offer. They were also interested in free agent Ovie Mughelli, who signed a three-year, $18 million deal with the Falcons.
Robert Douglas -- a third-year journeyman who has never suited up for a regular-season NFL game -- is the only fullback on the roster.
The team could try to convert one of the four tight ends behind Jeremy Shockey and rookie Kevin Boss on the depth chart into a fullback. And of course, general manager Jerry Reese could make his third trade of the off-season to bring in a veteran -- perhaps with the Texans, who have Leach and two more fullbacks on their roster.
But the team is high on Douglas, 24, who is listed at 6-1, 230 pounds, though he said he now weighs 248.
"He's athletic enough to get out on the edge and do a lot of things," running back Brandon Jacobs said. "He's most definitely big and strong, so he can go in there and bump heads with anybody."
That's been the knock on Finn this off-season -- that he's not physical enough to block for Jacobs and Reuben Droughns, who are straight-ahead, downhill runners. Finn was considered a good lead blocker that simply got to defenders to impede defenders for the shiftier Tiki Barber.
The Giants won't truly know if Douglas, who signed with the team in December, can be a plowing fullback until training camp and in the preseason when the hitting is live and the players are in full pads. Douglas just wants to make it to that point after missing the bulk of the Titans' 2005 training camp because of a broken leg and spending only two weeks in the Buccaneers' camp last summer.
"That's always been the knock on me: 'Can he hit somebody?'" Douglas said. "I haven't really had a chance to prove that I can."
One thing Douglas can't hit is a golf ball. At a recent Giants golf outing, he whiffed on a drive. But he still displayed his strength by snapping his driver in half with tremendous torque.
Busting graphite is one thing. Blocking a charging linebacker is quite different.
"It would be totally out of character for me to say I wasn't ready," Douglas said. "Now am I saying I'm (anxious) because of contact and whether or not I can do it? Yes.
"But I'm not afraid to go out there and throw my weight around with everybody because you have to do it if you want to be on this level."
Mike Garafolo may be reached at mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org