Gaints' Hilliard out for season

Oct. 29, 2002 at 7:39 PM
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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J., Oct. 29 (UPI) -- New York Giants wide receiver Ike Hilliard will miss the rest of the season with a dislocated right shoulder suffered when he was hit by safety Brian Dawkins in a Monday night game against Philadelphia, it was announced Tuesday.

An MRI revealed that Hilliard had a tear in both his labrum and his pectoralis muscle. He will undergo

surgery in about a month. The normal rehabilitation period for the surgery is three months.

Hilliard is the Giants' second starter to suffer a season-ending injury in as many games, following defensive tackle Keith Hamilton, who ruptured his Achilles tendon on Oct. 13 against Atlanta.

"Anytime you lose a player, it's hard," Giants Coach Jim Fassel said. "Ike's been a playmaker for us. He does an outstanding job for us on third down. He's been a guy that has been one of our consistent players. We're going to miss him."

The injury occurred on the opening drive of the second half. Trailing 9-3, the Giants had a 2nd-and-14 at the Eagles' 36-yard line when Kerry Collins threw incomplete to Hilliard outside the 20.

The seven-year veteran took three more strides before he was leveled by Dawkins, who received an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for the helmet-to-chest hit.

"It's disappointing to have to go through this again and miss the remainder of the season," Hilliard said. "It's not for me to determine whether or not it was a dirty hit. It was late. Dawkins is a good, aggressive player. I'm not one to shy away from contact, so I'm not going to cry about it. That wouldn't do my shoulder any good."

Asked whether he thought Dawkins' hit was a cheap shot, Fassel left the decision to NFL officials, although he thought the hit was "avoidable." But Collins was more emphatic.

"I know he's an aggressive player, but I think there is a line that he crossed. He really did," Collins said of Dawkins. "He knew that (Hilliard) was defenseless. I know it's football, it's part of the game, and I'm not saying he intentionally tried

to hurt him because I don't think he did. You're not going to hear Ike say anything bad about it, but it could have and should have been avoided."

In the last year of his contract with the Giants, Hilliard had 27 receptions for 286 yards and two touchdowns. He is third in the NFC with 12 third-down receptions for 176 yards.

A first-round pick of the Giants out of Florida in 1997, Hilliard has suffered several serious injuries in his career.

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