EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – The New York Giants will be minus Michael Strahan for a while.

A sprained ligament in his right foot will keep the Pro Bowl defensive end off his feet for at least a week and out of the lineup for two weeks to a month – and possibly longer.

Tests on Strahan’s foot Monday revealed a sprain to the Lis Franc ligament, one of the main stabilizers in the middle of the foot.

“This is not an injury that requires surgery,” trainer Ronnie Barnes said. “Michael will be on crutches and in a boot for at least the next week. A reasonable timeframe for Michael’s possible return would be anywhere from two to four weeks.”

Strahan, injured in the second quarter of Sunday’s 14-10 win over Houston, was not available for comment Monday. But he told FOXSports.com that the recovery period might last up to two months.

“It’s really up to how long it takes to heal,” Strahan said. “It’s not torn, but it’s similar to the injury that I had as a rookie that kept me out for several weeks.”

Giants coach Tom Coughlin said it’s hard to set a definite recovery period.

“We’re still trying to understand exactly how we are going to see progress,” Coughlin said on a conference call devoted almost entirely to Strahan.

Almost nothing was said of the showdown between New York (6-2) and the Chicago Bears (7-1) on Sunday night at Giants Stadium.

Coughlin might know by Wednesday whether All-Pro Osi Umenyiora (hip flexor) or fellow defensive end Justin Tuck (foot) will be ready to return after missing the last two games.

“We have to assess this thing day to day with the other injured guys and get ready to play with our people,” said Coughlin, who was unaware that Strahan said he might be out eight weeks.

Dr. Michael Kelly, the chairman of the department of orthopedic surgery at Hackensack University Medical Center, said Strahan’s foot probably is tender and swollen.

“When you sprain that ligament the injuries can come in an array of severity’s,” Kelly said in a telephone interview. “It sounds like Michael’s isn’t too bad.”

Former Giants cornerback Will Allen needed surgery after spraining his Lis Franc ligament in 2003, missing the final four regular-season games. Former Eagles running back Duce Staley also needed surgery for the injury a couple of years ago and missed the rest of the season.

Eagles safety Brian Dawkins missed nine games with a Lis Franc problem in 2003 and Philadelphia running back Brian Westbrook missed the last four in 2005 with the injury. Neither had surgery.

While Strahan might be out longer than the Giants predicted, Kelly said the fact that he was not having surgery was good news.

“Usually if you are intelligent, you don’t under-predict the nature of those things,” said Kelly, a former orthopedic surgeon for the NBA’s New Jersey Nets.

Strahan will have ultrasound, ice and massage to start his rehabilitation, and then progress to strengthening his foot and improving his range of motion, said Kelly, adding the player will probably wear orthodox to take some of the pressure off his foot.

Strahan was hurt when his foot twisted while he was engaged with Texans offensive tackle Zach Wiegert on a second-and-7 play at midfield. Strahan limped off the field and eventually left the stadium wearing a boot.

Adrian Awasom, who was on the practice squad until two weeks ago, replaced Strahan and finished with two tackles.

“He did a nice job,” Coughlin said. “He hustled, he gave good effort and certainly had some pressures. I thought he did, under those circumstances, a very good job.”

Coughlin doesn’t have many options if Umenyiora, Strahan and Tuck can’t go. Awasom and first-round draft pick Mathias Kiwanuka are his only healthy ends, although tackle Fred Robbins could move outside.

Coughlin said the team would consider signing another end, if one could be found. He also could use one of his linebackers as a standup defensive end.

This is the second year in a row the defense has been hit with a rash of injuries at one position. It was the linebackers last year.

“Every week you have to adjust,” Coughlin said. “We’ve been trying to do that. We certainly would like to get some people back.”

Strahan is tied with Hall of Famer Lawrence Taylor for the franchise sack record at 1321/2.

AP-ES-11-06-06 1941EST


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