The Giants and defensive end Osi Umenyiora have spent much of the last two weeks in an awkward holding pattern, with Umenyiora holding out for a day before reporting for camp, but then declining to practice as he sought a new contract, or a trade and a new contract.
After a failed effort to finagle a trade to a team that would give him Charles Johnson money (or something close to it), Umenyiora apparently has found a way to save a little face and return to practice.
Or, possibly, a way to hold out while still getting paid.
Ralph Vacchiano of the New York Daily News reports that Umenyiora will see a doctor in Atlanta on Wednesday, and that he could end up returning to practice next week — if his knee is deemed fit to withstand physical activity.
“He’ll visit the doctor in Atlanta, and he’ll consult with Dr. Warren [the Giants' team physician] and [trainer] Ronnie Barnes and they’ll all decide what the best course of action is,” agent Tony Agnone told Vacchiano. “Hopefully, if all goes well, this will lead to him being back on the field.”
But if the doctor suggests surgery, then Umenyiora could be out indefinitely.
“We don’t want [the knee] to become a constant irritant,” Agnone said. “We don’t want him to go through what he went through with his hip last year. But the object of this is to get him back on the field.”
On the surface, it sounds promising. Peeling back a layer or two, however, the message could be that Umenyiora thinks he’s not being paid enough to play with pain. So if his own doctor tells him that he needs surgery at a time when the Giants’ doctors apparently aren’t, Umenyiora could end in the same place he would have been if he’d held out — not playing for the Giants.
This way, he’d still get paid. Unless the Giants cut him. Which would allow him to get paid somewhere else.
After the failed effort to work out a trade, the Giants offered Umenyiora some incentives that would increase his pay over the final two years of his contract. Umenyiora declined. In turn, the Giants declined a request to provide some incentives for 2011, and to wipe out the final year of his contract.
UPDATE: Vacchiano now reports that Umenyiora won’t be visiting the Atlanta specialist until Wednesday.