EAST RUTHERFORD - One of the constants on the New York Giants' offensive line over the last seven-plus seasons may be missing when the defending Super Bowl champions face the Bengals in Cincinnati.
Chris Snee practiced for the first time this week on Friday and his status for Sunday's game was listed as questionable because of a sprained ankle.
The son-in-law of coach Tom Coughlin, Snee has missed starting only one game at right guard since 2005. That happened last year when he was sidelined by a concussion.
"I'd love to be out there, but that's a decision we haven't made yet," Snee said after practicing on a limited basis Friday. "You can talk to the head guy."
Coughlin said much will depend on how Snee feels on Sunday. He would not say who would replace Snee if he cannot to play, but the Giants (6-3) are flexible. The most likely scenario would have David Diehl move from right tackle to guard. Sean Locklear, who started the first eight games at either left or right tackle with injuries to Will Beatty and Diehl, would start at right tackle.
Snee rolled an ankle in the first quarter vs. Pittsburgh but never left the loss. He said his ankle has improved and that he will give the team an honest assessment of his condition Sunday. Guard Kevin Boothe, for one, expects Snee to play.
"He probably needed a couple of days of rest," Boothe quipped, "because he is getting up there in years and age."
Center David Baas was joking with a member of the medical staff about Snee being a pain in the neck for the trainers, something Snee would not dispute.
"I just don't like to be in there, so maybe that's the reason why he says that," Snee said. "I don't like to be out. I don't like to miss practice. I don't like to be in there. I don't like to miss things with my teammates, so that's probably why I'm not the happiest camper in there, which is a good thing."
Under offensive line coach Pat Flaherty, the Giants have made all their linemen learn more than one position on the line.
Baas can play guard and center. The same for Boothe. Beatty and Locklear can play either tackle spot. Diehl is the most versatile. In his 10 seasons, he has started at both guard and tackle positions for entire seasons. Last year, when Beatty was hurt, he moved from left guard to left tackle.
"I don't think it's rare," Baas said. "It's happening more and more now and it really helps with depth. That's good for our team that we have that."
Baas added that knowing two positions helps the line to work together.
"I played many years at guard (in San Francisco) and thought the center had it easy," Baas said. "When I started playing center it was a little eye-opening. It's good you get the different perspectives and the more positions you know, it just makes it that much better."
Having started 110 of the last 111 games and being a member of two Super Bowl-champion teams, Snee can afford to miss a practice. And his teammates, when they get serious, realize his true value.
"You don't worry about him," Boothe said. "I don't think anybody on the team is worried about him. He is as tough as they come."
And as experienced.
"Missing a couple of reps is not the worst thing in my opinion," Snee said. "I have been in this offense for nine years. I have a firm handle on it."
And if he can't go?
"We roll however we have to roll," Baas said. "I know he wants to be out there."
The Giants received some good news on the injury front when middle linebacker Chase Blackburn practiced without restrictions Friday and was listed as probable.
The Ohio native missed last week with a hamstring injury.
"It's going to be nice to go back to the great state and enjoy it a little bit and have the family there," Blackburn said. "Hopefully, it will be a win that I can celebrate."
Notes: The Giants listed safety Kenny Phillips (knee), linebacker Jacquian Williams (knee) and cornerback Michael Coe (hamstring) as out for the game. Running back Ahmad Bradshaw (foot) and linebacker Keith Rivers (calf) were questionable. Defensive tackle Chris Canty (groin), receiver Hakeem Nicks, tight end Bear Pascoe (ankle), running back Andre Brown (shoulder) and Baas (ankle-elbow) were listed as probable. ... The Giants are 1-1 vs. the AFC North.