Giants Starter’s Career in Limbo After Concerning Update

Nick Gates to undergo a sixth surgery

Getty LANDOVER, MARYLAND - NOVEMBER 08: Nick Gates #65 of the New York Giants celebrates with head coach Joe Judge in the first quarter against the Washington Football Team at FedExField on November 08, 2020 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)

New York Giants offensive lineman Nick Gates has already undergone five surgeries to repair his broken left leg. According to The Athletic’s Dan Duggan, he’ll soon be undergoing a sixth.

“I was told last week that Gates is out of the hospital. He needed 1 more surgery, which would be 6 total. I know the ‘career-ending’ talk was a surprise to him. He expects to be back,” tweeted Duggan.


Gates’ Future Up in the Air

The career-ending “talk” that Duggan mentioned was originally initiated by Joe Judge, of all people. The head coach brought his starting center/guard’s future playing status into question while speaking with reporters shortly after Gates’ injury, which was sustained in a Week 2 loss to NFC East rivals, Washington.

Shortly after Judge’s claims, Gates’ agent Joe Perzley quickly refuted the idea that his client’s career could be in jeopardy, telling ESPN’s Jordan Raanan to “Mark my word, Nick will be back in blue next year. While in some cases these types of injuries can be career-threatening, Nick’s situation is not that. It doesn’t hurt that he is the toughest guy on the planet.”

Evidently, Gates and his agent share a similar outlook on his future status. However, there’s no denying his playing career is at the very least in question. The good news here, Gates has age on his side, as the Nebraska product won’t turn 26 years old until late November.

Gates, who was named a first-time captain leading into the 2021 NFL season, has appeared in  34 games (21 starts) since going undrafted in 2018. Prior to his injury, Gates had started 19 consecutive games dating back to the final week of the 2019 regular season. The ever-versatile Nevada native has lined up all over the Giants offensive line over his tenure in East Rutherford, starting games at center, guard and right tackle.

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Giants’ Interior Offensive Line Starting to Put it Together

With Gates sidelined for at least the remainder of the year, and Shane Lemieux very likely to follow in his footsteps, the G-Men have been getting by with a makeshift guard-center combo on the interior of their offensive line. Will Hernandez has begun to settle in at his new position of right guard, posting a solid 71.4 PFF passing game in Week 5. However, the center and left guard spot has been manned by three players, Billy Price, Ben Bredeson and Matt Skura in Gates and Lemieux’s absences — all of whom weren’t with the team prior to August 30th.

Skura got his first start for the Giants in Week 4. Filling in for the injured Bredeson (hand), the former Baltimore Raven made the most of his opportunity, earning a 75.3 pass block grade and earning the praise of coach Judge in the process.

“Specifically about Matt, I saw a guy jump in there and went out there, competed and made a lot of good plays for us. I think all positions on the team, all coaches, there’s a lot of things we’ve got to clean up and fix to keep moving forward, but I was very pleased with how Matt jumped in there,” Judge said.

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