Jake Ballard had microfracture surgery

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The timeline for Giants tight end Jake Ballard’s return to action is a little longer than originally expected.

Ballard was already a good bet to start the year on the PUP list because of the torn ACL he suffered during the Super Bowl, but he also needs to recover from microfracture surgery performed to repair damaged cartilage in his left knee. Ballard told Jeff Roberts of the Bergen Record that he thinks the cartilage injury came when he tried to get back on the field after originally injuring the knee during the fourth quarter of the win over the Patriots.

“I definitely felt it rip and heard it pop. I felt like I ripped everything and broke everything,” Ballard said of the on-field injury. “My knee just collapsed, I definitely tore [my ACL] on the field. I’d say [the cartilage damage] probably happened on the sideline from trying to run with no ACL. But I don’t regret trying to get back in the game. It’s the biggest game in any football player’s career.”

Ballard was though to need eight to nine months to recover from the torn ACL and, per Roberts, the microfracture surgery adds another six weeks to the recovery time. That puts his ability to return at all during the 2012 season into doubt and the magnitude of the injury means it won’t be easy for Ballard to come all the way back in future seasons.

The Giants are also dealing with Travis Beckum’s recovery from his own torn ACL. They signed Martellus Bennett as a free agent, but they will likely still be in the market for help at tight end before the start of training camp.