EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. —
Ahmad Bradshaw is ready to return as the New York Giants’ top running back after being sidelined for a game by an inflamed disk in his neck.
Bradshaw has not missed a practice in preparing for Sunday night’s game against the Eagles (2-1) in Philadelphia, and coach Tom Coughlin intends to start him.
“It’s a big game for me,” Bradshaw said Thursday. “I’m ready to get back into things. It’s a divisional opponent, and I think it’s a big contest for our team.”
Bradshaw was hurt against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and missed the game in North Carolina against the Panthers a week ago Thursday.
“It wasn’t one certain hit,” said Bradshaw, who opened the season gaining 78 yards on 17 carries in a loss to Dallas. “I actually took a hit and felt tingling in my hands so then it happened again and that’s when I sat out. I can’t say it was one certain hit that it happened. I can’t say it won’t happen again. I’m prepared for it, and obviously I can’t worry about that.”
Bradshaw seemed uncertain how to describe his injury, which the team initially said was a sprained neck. He said it was a bulge in his disk.
“I mean we can’t do anything except let it heal,” Bradshaw said. “It’s pretty much like an inflamed disk. It’s just sitting right on the spinal cord, I guess. The swelling went down and I feel fine now. There’s no setbacks, no problems.”
Bradshaw said he would not be limited against the Eagles, who share first place in the NFC East with the Giants (2-1) and Cowboys. New York, however, has a loss in the division already.
“They’re right up the street from us,” Bradshaw said. “It’s like a backyard brawl. That’s just how we take it.”
Bradshaw will split time with Andre Brown, who was outstanding filling in. Brown ran for 113 yards and two touchdowns against Carolina in his first NFL start. He also rushed for 71 yards and a touchdown against Tampa Bay.
“He’s really played well,” offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride said. “He got an opportunity that probably would not have occurred if it wasn’t for the injury to Ahmad.
“But he did just what you pray as a coach that a guy will do when a chance presents itself. He went out and made some plays.
“He’s really changed the dynamic of our run game.”
When the season started, Bradshaw was expected to share the carries with David Wilson, the team’s first-round pick. Wilson, however, lost a fumble against Dallas and his chances have all but disappeared.
“There’s no doubt in my mind that I’ll get my chance at some point,” Wilson said. “But until that happens, I’m working hard and learning everything I can.”