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New York Giants Vs. Dallas Cowboys: Giants Will Be Shuffling Offensive Line

The big storyline surrounding this week's NFC East matchup between the division-leading New York Giants (6-2) and the cellar-dwelling Dallas Cowboys (1-7) is, of course, Jason Garrett replacing Wade Phillips as head coach of the reeling Cowboys.

While the Giants might wonder what type of impact that will have on the Cowboys, beaten by a combined score of 80-24 the past two weeks, the Giants have an issue of their own to address this week.

That would be their beaten-up offensive line. Right now, what that line will look like on Sunday against the Dallas Cowboys is a mystery.

For certain, usual starting left tackle David Diehl will not be in the lineup. He will miss his first NFL game after 120 starts due to a partially torn hamstring. Diehl told McDonald & Tierney on ESPN Radio earlier today that he hopes to return next week against Philadelphia.

"It's my hamstring," Diehl said on his weekly spot on 1050 ESPN's McDonald and Tierney show. "I hurt my hamstring. I am just glad that it isn't my hip because if you hurt your hip then that is surgery and stuff like that. It is muscular and it will take a little time to heal up a little bit. My goal is to be back at Philadelphia next week."

More likely, he could miss several weeks. Shawn Andrews, who started at left tackle last week against Seattle for the first time while Diehl shifted to guard, will start there.

The Giants today placed Adam Koets, who has started three games this season at center on injured reserve, and activated lineman Kevin Boothe from the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) List. Boothe could go from PUP directly into the starting lineup at left guard.

That is because usual starting left guard rich Seubert is likely to have to make a second straight start at center with Koets on IR and Shaun O'Hara unlikely to play for a second straight week due to a Lisfranc sprain of his foot. Right now, O'Hara does not sound like a guy who will be ready to play this weekend.

His recovery from a Lisfranc sprain in his right foot is, in his words, "very slow."

That’s what he said this morning on Sirius NFL Radio’s The Opening Drive. After a weekend of sitting on his couch, icing his foot, and "driving my wife nuts" watching football, the 33-year-old center is hopeful of a quick return, but still "frustrated" by the pace of his recovery.

"Foot sprains, as I’m learning, as much as they’re painful, they’re also very slow to heal," O’Hara told hosts Andrew Bogush and Peter King. "I’m optimistic, but I’m frustrated, that’s for sure. I don’t know. I don’t know what the prognosis is for this week. Obviously with some other guys getting dinged I’m pushing even more to get back out there. But ultimately the doctors and trainers are going to decide what’s best for me and what’s best for the team."

According to a source familiar with O’Hara’s situation, he’s "getting closer" and, given the Giants’ injury issues, will try to convince the trainers to let him try to practice later in the week. Given how he feels, though, he’s apparently not 100 percent convinced that he’d be able to make it through an entire game at the moment, according to the source. His hope is that feeling will change in the coming days.
Boothe, in his fifth season, does at least have 16 career starts on his professional resume. The other choice for the Giants if Seubert has to play center would be rookie fifth-round pick Mitch Petrus, who saw his first real game action last week.
"We all know what we're doing at different positions, so that makes us versatile. Whatever the coaches want us to do, we're going to go in and do it, and we're going to give it all we've got," Seubert said on Monday. "Being an offensive lineman, if you don't know what the guy's doing next to you, you're not going to be out there doing that well. You really have to know what everyone is doing. I think Coach Flaherty and Coach Bicknell have really been good coaches as far as teaching us what everyone is doing. No matter what position we're playing, we all know what we're doing together."
That belief in the depth and versatility of his line mates is going to get a serious test Sunday, and probably for the next few weeks.

NFC East Standings

New York Giants 6 2 0 216 160
Philadelphia 5 3 0 198 181
Washington 4 4 0 155 170
Dallas 1 7 0 161 232

(updated 11.9.2010 at 9:37 AM EST)