David Wilson's most recent setback in his recovery from off-season neck surgery has dominated the news of the pro football landscape in the past week, but in the last two days, it's clear the prognosis for Wilson has decidedly taken a turn for the worse. This update was posted a little over an hour ago from the leading player tracking site on the internet, Rotoworld:
A source close to the situation told ESPN's Dan Graziano the Giants would be "very surprised" if David Wilson (neck) played for them again.
Graziano is essentially confirming an NJ.com report that Wilson "needs a miracle" to continue his career. Wilson will be re-checked by his surgeon Monday after suffering a neck burner on the heels of spinal fusion surgery. "As soon as I saw him walk off the field, I started to hurt," said starting RB Rashad Jennings. "Someone who's been working as hard as he has to get back on the field, when he has a little setback, it's frustrating as a friend, a brother and a teammate."
While that statement is far from official, and a medical diagnosis for the better could effectively reverse all of this speculation, it tends to jive with everything the Giants have been saying over the last 4-5 months regarding Wilson's future with the team and in professional football.
Wilson suffered the original injury in an October 6 game against the Philadelphia Eagles and was removed from the game as a "precaution." From that point, the dialogue about his injury began a slow and downward spiral, starting with near daily quotes by Giants' staffers about how he was getting better, to him missing practice, and then multiple games, and then a 3-4 week recovery timetable, followed by Tom Coughlin opining that he would not be lost for the season, multiple second opinions and doctors stating that he would not need surgery, before finally announcing on November 7 that he would be placed on season-ending injured reserve.
That, however, was only the start of David's problems, as an opinion took hold in the organization that he should give up football, General Manager Jerry Reese announced that Wilson would require surgery and backpedaled from naming him the starter again for 2014, saying he couldn't count on Wilson for that role. Wilson had surgery to fuse the vertebrae together on January 16 of this year, which created an expectation that he would be ready for training camp at the latest. While Wilson failed to gain medical clearance for OTAs, a decision that he was visibly frustrated with, he was cleared for training camp and had been working behind free agent signing Rashad Jennings in what the Giants strategically called "a different role." That was a kind way of saying that David would be a backup.
Still yet, even with David's eventual clearance, there were reports that cast doubt on if David would never play again. That was until Tuesday, when David re-injured his neck in practice, sustaining a "burner" (also known as a stinger) in his neck. He was removed immediately, and had to be helped off the field. Yesterday, the Giants announced Wilson would be held out of action this week and re-evaluated on August 4. That was followed by the report this morning that Wilson's NFL career is in serious jeopardy, and that the Giants did not expect good news from his surgeon, whom Wilson is supposed to meet with on Monday, and the above report.
Whatever the results from Wilson's meeting on Monday, it is clear that he will have to demonstrate his health with the Giants, should they keep him, or any other NFL team before he is given an opportunity to see the field again, much like former Hokie Ryan Williams is having to do with the Dallas Cowboys. With NFL teams not only being more cautious of injuries to their star players for selfish reasons, but to also avoid costly suits and litigation at a later date, it is unlikely that teams are willing to take that chance on Wilson.
Wilson was a prized prospect both coming out of high school and college and raved about for his athleticism, but his raw skills have yet to translate to a mature, NFL-ready game, and is viewed as a disappointment by Giants fans for his partial 2013 season, in which he was handed the starting job, but failed to produce for various reasons. In addition to his injury, the Giants' offensive line was poor, and no running back on the team was able to have a positive season out of the backfield. Meanwhile, Eli Manning had his worst season as a pro, which placed him at/near the bottom of the league in every meaningful metric/statistic. For the year, Wilson finished with 146 rushing yards on 44 carries (a 3.3 yards per carry average) and a touchdown, with two lost fumbles. He also caught 2 passes for 8 yards and returned 9 kicks for 222 yards.
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