After struggling versus the run last week against the Pittsburgh Steelers, New York Giants fans can breathe a sigh of relief to hear linebacker Chase Blackburn is hoping to return this Sunday, after missing last week's game with a hamstring injury. Blackburn missed Wednesday's practice, but saw limited snaps during Thursday's session. The fact that he's practicing the week before a bye week is a strong indication the coaches feel Chase is ready to go against the Cincinnati Bengals.
"I don't think they'd have me practicing going into a bye week like this if there wasn't a realistic opportunity for me to play, knowing we have next week off," Blackburn said. "I feel like I'm practicing out there and continuing to progress and getting more snaps. I feel like I definitely have an opportunity to play."
Last week was supposed to be Mark Herzlich's chance to step up and prove he's ready to eventually step into the starting middle linebacker role at some point in the near future, but it appears the youngster needs more time and experience before he makes that leap. Despite forcing a couple turnovers, the defense allowed Isaac Redman to rush for 147 yards and a touchdown, and it allowed several big plays that helped the Steelers score fourteen points in the 4th quarter sealing their defeat.
Blackburn said he felt good in practice and was able to do everything that was asked of him. As long as no further setbacks to his hamstring injury pop up, he will continue to practice this week with the expectation that he will start.
"I felt good out there," Blackburn said. "I didn't go out there and wasn't running cold and just trying to run 100 miles per hour, but I felt pretty good, confident. So hopefully we'll just continue the confidence and keep building it."
The Giants will look to finish strong with a win before their bye week. The team will then have a couple weeks for several key players dealing with nagging injuries including Blackburn, Kenny Phillips, and Hakeem Nicks to rest up and fully recover for the remainder of the season.
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