Giants Quarterback Downplays Back Spasm

New York Giants quarterback Kerry Collins created a little stir at practice on Wednesday, walking off the field late in the workout with a back spasm.

Collins, on the verge of making his 50th consecutive regular-season start for the Giants, downplayed the problem, saying he intended to be back at work Thursday.

``It was something from the game the other day,'' Collins said in the locker room after practice. ``It was just a little thing.''

Collins informed trainers of the problem on Sunday after the Giants' 16-14 loss to the Houston Texans. He said his back didn't bother him either on the plane ride back to New Jersey or on Monday or Tuesday.

``Toward the end of practice I just kind of tweaked it a little bit,'' said Collins, who walked to the sidelines after the flare-up and took his red quarterback jersey. ``It was a little bit of a spasm. It's not a big deal at all.''

X-rays after practice showed no problem, Collins said. He was not listed on the Giants' injury report for Sunday's game against Tennessee.

The last Giants quarterback to start 50 straight regular-season games was Phil Simms from 1984-87. The streak was snapped by a player strike.

Both Collins and coach Jim Fassel were hoping for the best when asked about the streak.

``It means people kept me on my feet and I have been lucky,'' Collins said. ``You never know what play it will be and I've been lucky.''

Collins joked about Sunday's game against the Titans.

``The other day I was handing the ball off and something hit me. I couldn't brace myself and I went down on my mask full force and hit the ground,'' Collins said. ``It was stupid. It was a running play.''

When asked if that's how he got a cut on his check, Collins chuckled.

It was the same one he said he got on Monday walking into a branch.

Besides being big and tough, Fassel said Collins benefits playing in an offense that stresses quick decisions.

``Our priority has always been to protect the quarterback and it remains the same way,'' Fassel said.

Collins has thrown 1,758 consecutive regular-season passes for the Giants, the NFL's longest current streak. He has thrown every regular-season pass for the team since Nov. 21, 1999, when he took over in the second quarter against Washington after Kent Graham sustained a concussion.

``I think my size helps,'' Collins said. ``I'm 240 pounds. I don't get big hits a lot of times because of my size.''

Halfback Tiki Barber even joked that Collins didn't hurt throwing a block for him last week.

``He's a big guy, strong and smart,'' Barber said. ``It's pretty amazing he has thrown every pass the last three years.''
Nov. 29