In seeking the solution to their long-standing offensive line problems, the New York Giants are heading into the 2021 season with a plan to let their young offensive linemen take the field and develop as a group. But that plan has been threatened early in training camp, as the Giants' projected starting left guard has already been sidelined by injury.
During Thursday's practice, second-year pro Shane Lemieux was carted off the field with what the team later described as a knee injury. While the extent of Lemieux's injury has still not been disclosed, it's being reported the injury is not major, per Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, and that Lemieux should miss only a couple weeks of camp practice and that no surgery will be needed.
Giants coach Joe Judge also shared Friday that the team believes they avoided a "worst-case scenario" on Lemieux, and looked forward to knowing more over the weekend.
"In terms of trying to come out here and make a diagnosis on Shane, we've got to see where he's at," Judge said. "The one thing I'll tell you for Shane, he's kind of like a wild animal. He'd chew his leg off through a bear trap if he had to. So him not being out here kind of drives him nuts. He's already been in my office today talking about how fast he can get back."
A fifth-round pick out of Oregon in 2020, Lemieux took over as the starting job on the offensive line midway through last season after Will Hernandez was placed on the COVID-19 list. Lemieux proved to be a solid pulling guard, helping the Giants to improve their run game in a 5-3 stretch during the second half of the season. However, Lemieux graded poorly in pass protection, earning the worst pass-blocking grade in the entire league from Pro Football Focus.
Lemieux is part of a Giants offensive line that is projected to start three second-year players as well as a former undrafted free agent (center Nick Gates) and fourth-year pro (Hernandez), but injuries have caused the unit to get off to an inconvenient start. Offensive tackle Matt Peart, who entered camp as the favorite for the right tackle job, has started training camp on the Physically Unable to Perform list with what the team has classified as a back injury.