NEWARK, N.J. -- New York Giants quarterback Phil Simms underwent major knee surgery Monday and will miss the entire 1982-83 season, the team announced.
Simms, who battled Scott Brunner for the starting quarterback job throughout training camp, injured his knee in the first quarter of Saturday night's exhibition victory over the New York Jets.
The fourth-year pro -- who hurt his shoulder last season and watched as Brunner took the Giants to the playoffs for the first time in 18 years -- underwent arthroscopic surgery at University Hospital, where it was discovered he had a complete tear of the medial collateral of the right knee. A clean tear of the anterior cruciate ligament was also repaired.
'It's the worst thing possible,' said Ed Croke, the Giants' public relations director. 'It's a complete tear and he'll be lost for the season -- even if we make the playoffs.'
Dr. Kim Sloan, the Giants' orthopedic surgeon, decided to perform the major surgery while Simms' knee was opened.
'He's (Simms) snakebit,' said Croke, who termed the operation 100 percent successful. 'We feel bad for Phil. This is the third year in a row he's gone down.'
Simms, who completed 5-of-9 passes for 34 yards against the Jets' furiouspass rush, dropped back to pass late in the first quarter Saturday night and was sandwiched between Joe Klecko and Abdul Salaam on an interception by Darrol Ray.
'I certainly feel bad for him -- Phil's a good person and he was playing very well,' said a subdued Brunner. 'I don't wish that on anybody ... even if we are going for the same position.'
Simms will wear a leg cast for 2-to-3 weeks before donning a flexible cast. Shortly thereafter, he will begin rehabilitaion exercises.
The Giants are reportedly searching for a veteran quarterback who would serve as Brunner's backup.
Mark Reed, a 1981 eighth-round draft pick who was on injured reserve last season, is their only other quarterback.