Giants’ Kiwanuka: Injuries are cutthroat in NFL

Posted Sept. 14, 2011, at 6:15 p.m.

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — New York Giants linebacker Mathias Kiwanuka says the NFL tends not to show any mercy when it comes to playing against an injured foe.

Kiwanuka has played with injuries and had opposing players go after whatever part of his body was aching.

That’s why he bluntly said not to be surprised if the Giants somehow hit the bruised index finger on the right hand of St. Louis Rams quarterback Sam Bradford on Monday night.

When asked if he would do it, Kiwanuka pleaded the fifth.

“It is cutthroat, from the top to the bottom,” Kiwanuka said Wednesday. “There is a line between playing tough and playing dirty. You just don’t cross that line.”

From experience, Kiwanuka knows what to expect — and what to do if his name has appeared on the league’s injury report.

“If there was something wrong with me I would protect it because I would expect people to be coming after it now,” the sixth-year veteran said. “I have a history of that going back to college, having an issue with a leg and having guys, literally after the play, run in and chop my legs out.

“So I am very, very conscious of the fact if something is on the injury report it is going to be attacked,” said the former Boston College star who missed most of last season with a neck injury. “I don’t know if everybody feels that same way.”

Kiwanuka admitted it might be hard to target a quarterback’s index finger, although if there was anyone on the Giants that could do that, it would be defensive end Osi Umenyiora. The two-time Pro Bowler, still sidelined following arthroscopic knee surgery, has an uncanny ability to force fumbles on sacks by poking the ball out of a quarterback’s hand.

“He can pinpoint the tip of the ball,” Kiwanuka said. “He can probably find the index finger. That’s an individual skill he’s got.”

Fellow defensive end Dave Tollefson said he wasn’t even thinking about Bradford’s hand, adding Bradford will be fine for the game.

“He’s got a good arm,” Tollefson said. “He’ll stand in there and throw the ball. He is not maybe your typical rookie (actually second-year player) in that he is skittish. He’ll stand in there and take a hit and deliver the ball, so you’re going to have to get to him and try to do what we can.”

Bradford, who was injured in the Rams’ season-opening loss to Philadelphia, made all the throws during a short practice on Wednesday.

He wore a special glove designed to increase blood flow to the injury.

“Everyone says I look like Michael Jackson,” Bradford joked Wednesday. “I’m not really sure what it does. They say it works and obviously my hand feels better, so I trust them.”

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