AP Sports Writer
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Defensive tackle Chris Canty chose his words carefully after the New York Giants put him on the reserve-physically unable to perform list to start the 2012 season.
The eight-year veteran never said he disagreed with the move that will sideline him for at least six games. The 29-year-old lineman, however, made it clear on Monday that the Giants and their medical staff decided that his surgically repaired knee needed more time to heal.
It was their decision, not his. In fact, Canty insisted he is close to being ready. But either way, he cannot suit up until at least Oct. 18, when New York takes on Washington.
"I’m not gonna say I saw it coming," Canty said "Obviously, I was optimistic about it. I feel good, I feel in pretty good shape considering all the factors. I stand by the position my knee is better than it was November, December, January of last season.
"But ultimately this was a decision that was made in the best interest of the football team."
Canty had a knee -- neither he nor the team has said which one -- cleaned out after the Giants beat the New England Patriots to win their second Super Bowl in five seasons. In minicamp, he insisted he would be ready for the season opener on Sept. 5 against the Dallas Cowboys, the team that drafted him.
But when training camp opened, Canty was placed on the PUP and he never looked ready. He was seen on the sideline running after the team returned to New Jersey, but that was it. Canty said the Giants (No. 3 in the AP Pro32) told him the decision recently. He was not given the chance to plead his case otherwise.
"Yeah it is disappointing," he said. "But at the end of the day, what can you do?"
Canty refused to get into the specifics of his surgery. He said he played a least a third of last season on a bad knee and his career would not have continued had he not addressed the injury.
"It is tough to officially know that I am not going to be starting the 2012 season," he said. "I am not going to be able to go out there and participate in the game that I love and play with my teammates. It is tough."
Canty said he had no setbacks in his rehabilitation and was continuing to make progress.
"This is something that takes a long time to heal," he said. "Obviously, we were very aggressive and we were very optimistic that I’ll be able to accelerate the process. With that being said, they did not feel comfortable putting me back on the football field with full confidence that I will be able to compete at a high level."
When asked if he disagreed with the assessment, Canty said it didn’t matter how he felt.
"I was brought here to do a job and right now, they don’t feel that I could do that job," he said. "They don’t feel that it’s in the best interest of the football team for me to be playing and so that’s what it is."
Canty started all 16 games last season and finished with 47 tackles and four sacks. He has only missed eight games in his career. In 2009, he battled hamstring, calf and knee problems.
With Canty out, veteran Rocky Bernard will move into the starting lineup next to Linval Joseph. Dwayne Hendricks, rookie Markus Kuhn and Marvin Austin, who has battled back issues, will back them up.
Coach Tom Coughlin said it’s better for Canty to take the time and eventually return at 100 percent. But while he believes he will play this year, Canty said there is still no guarantee.
"I don’t have a crystal ball," he said. "If you would have asked me would I start the season on PUP, I’d say there’s no chance, but here I am. It is what it is."