By Brian Lewis
The Giants lost another key defensive piece Sunday when Leonard Williams suffered a knee injury, but they sound hopeful he won’t be lost for too long.
Williams got hurt in the third quarter of Sunday’s 19-16 win over Carolina and didn’t return to the game.
Being without Williams for any extended period would be a huge blow. The Giants offered no update on his status, but Williams told reporters he felt good that his knee wasn’t torn. The star defensive tackle is slated for more tests on Monday.
“I can’t talk about it, so don’t ask me,” Williams said afterward.
“Once again we just keep showing what type of team we have. We kept our humility after the first week and went back to the process. I think that worked again for us this week.”
Williams appeared in good spirits in the locker room, but a Giants media relations rep immediately shut down the lineman’s interview.
“He’s not talking,” the rep said. “Send it in, file it in, tweet it out. He’s not talking.”
ESPN did quote Williams saying, “Don’t thinks it’s going to be too bad.”
The injury happened in the third quarter as Williams was rushing the passer. Williams got shoved into Panthers right tackle Taylor Moton, who then fell on his leg.
Williams was down on the turf for awhile, eventually hobbling off under his own power but with a visible limp. He headed to the locker room, and was very quickly ruled out for the rest of the afternoon.
“That was very concerning to me, just because he’s one of my brothers. So I was praying for him just hoping that it wasn’t nothing crazy,” said defensive end Justin Ellis, who stepped up in Williams’ absence. “So being that it wasn’t — I mean, it seems like he’s going to be OK — so that was great news.”
Before his afternoon was cut short, Williams has seven tackles in parts of two games this season. The 28-year-old former Pro Bowler is a key cog in Big Blue’s defense.
“Leo, that’s our leader. You’ve seen what he’s done the last three years: He’s a big part of this defense,” Oshane Ximines said. “When he went down we just had to pick it up even more, and fight.”
Coach Brian Daboll offered no update on Williams, saying, “We’ll get more [Monday].”
The Giants were already without edge rushers Azeez Ojulari and Kayvon Thibodeaux, and cornerback Aaron Robinson. But even after losing the 6-foot-5, 302-pound Williams, it didn’t seem to impact defensive coordinator Wink Martindale’s aggressive playcalling at all.
“Unfortunately Leo went down. He’s a big piece to our defense, and it sucked to really see that,” safety Xavier McKinney said. “But we knew we had to finish the job for him, we knew we had to finish the job for our team and that’s what we went out there and did.”