Osi Umenyiora's Knee is Suddenly Bothering Him

Disgruntled defensive end could need knee surgery

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
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    And you thought soap operas were a dying art form.

    If Thursday found us in the theatre of the absurd when it came to Osi Umenyiora, what are we to make of the latest twist in the story?

    Umenyiora spent another practice on the stationary bike on Thursday -- he'll be ready for the Tour de France if nothing else -- but he had a new explanation for his refusal to practice this time around. The Giants explained that Umenyiora wasn't at practice because "he says he has a sore knee."

    You don't need to read between the lines all that well to see the implication sent by the Giants. Injury reports usually aren't qualified with the opinion of the players nor do they tend to come with the implicit eye rolling included in this one.

    Umenyiora has also reportedly told the team that he needs surgery on the injury, which is in the left knee that was surgically repaired when Umenyiora missed the entire 2008 season. The current injury is described as a meniscus cartilage issue related to the earlier injury.

    It's a big change in tune from Umenyiora, who has long maintained that he is in great shape and that there's no physical reason keeping him from being on the practice field with the rest of the team. That makes it hard to see it as anything other than the latest move in the chess match he's playing with the Giants in hopes of finding his way to a bigger contract and/or another team.

    If so, it's a pretty odd strategy.

    Neither of the outcomes that Umenyiora is seeking become more likely if he does have an operation on his knee. Teams don't line up to trade for players who will miss time because of knee surgery, even if it wouldn't keep Osi out all season, nor do they show up on the doorstep with lavish new contract offers.

    What's more, lying about injuries as a way to get out of practice is hardly an endearing trait for a player to reveal to the world. So Umenyiora doesn't really have an easy out of the corner he's painted himself into at present.

    It's not much better for the Giants. They might have been able to trade Umenyiora earlier this week, but now he's a damaged asset who could wind up eating up space on the payroll without actually playing for the team.

    The writing on the wall has been clear for some time, but the Giants ignored it and worried more about making Umenyiora look bad when they should have been committed to trading him away. Now they've got to deal with a mess that gets bigger every day instead of working on the season to come.

    In the end, it's a lose-lose situation, which makes perfect sense given how poorly both sides have handled this spat over the last two weeks.

    Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City. You can follow him on Twitter and he is also a contributor to Pro Football Talk.