The New York Giants injury report released on Wednesday painted a dire picture of a team that was hobbled heading into its most competitive contest of the season. The 4-1 San Francisco 49ers are a fast, physical opponent that will certainly require Big Blue to have their best players on the field in order to emerge victorious. Luckily for the Giants, linebacker Keith Rivers and cornerback Jayron Hosley are slated to return to the gridiron this Sunday.
Hosley and Rivers have both been battling hamstring issues that have kept them off the field for two and three games, respectively. While it's no longer a question of whether they will play against the 49ers, it remains to be seen how much they see the field after missing multiple games.
Jayron Hosley is going to be a huge addition to a banged up Giants secondary. With the suspension of Will Hill, Big Blue had no viable option to play nickel cornerback this weekend.
Hosley provides speed and athleticism, which will give him the ability to run with any receiver the 49ers line up opposite of him. We will see Hosley play nickel cornerback this weekend, which will allow him to play a limited, yet immensely important defensive role on Sunday.
As for Keith Rivers, he's arguably the Giants most athletic linebacker. Although he's only played one full game so far this season, he's shown an ability to make plays around the ball against the run With that, his speed allows him to be an asset covering tight ends and backs out of the backfield.
As the Giants get ready to face the likes of Vernon Davis and Frank Gore, Rivers will be a valuable addition to the defense. Michael Boley is also dealing with a hip issue, so the Giants were already shorthanded at weakside linebacker. It should be interesting to see how much Rivers plays, and how fast he bounces back from a long layoff.
It might be a stretch to say the Giants are finally getting healthy, as there are still several players listed on the injury report who's statuses are in doubt this weekend. Kenny Phillips (knee), Martellus Bennett (knee) and Andre Brown (concussion) are all important players. However, it's appearing as if Hakeem Nicks may return on Sunday, along with Rivers and Hosley.
The Giants may not be as shorthanded as we all thought they would be this weekend. No matter who plays, it's going to be a tough road matchup for Big Blue. It should be intriguing to watch how head coach Tom Coughlin integrates his returning players back into their respective roles.
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