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Giants will shuffle O-line with return of O'Hara

New York has used six starting combinations because of various injuries this season.

Shawn O'Hara will return to the Giants on Sunday to face the Eagles. (AP File Photo/Bill Kostroun)
Shawn O'Hara will return to the Giants on Sunday to face the Eagles. (AP File Photo/Bill Kostroun)Read more

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - The New York Giants' offensive line apparently will get another makeover.

Two-time Pro Bowl center Shaun O'Hara appears as if he will be back Sunday for the Giants (9-4) in their NFC East showdown with the Eagles (9-4).

O'Hara practiced on a limited basis Thursday and Friday and sounded confident that he would play for the first time since being sidelined by a sprained right foot six games ago.

If O'Hara starts at center, Rich Seubert will move back to left guard. Kevin Boothe started at left guard last week.

"I feel good," O'Hara said after practice Friday. "I feel relevant again, which is nice, and I'm looking forward to being with my teammates and contributing. Hopefully, I can play half as good as Rich."

This has been a season of musical chairs for the line, with only right guard Chris Snee and right tackle Kareem McKenzie starting all 13 games at the same position. Seubert has started all 13, but the first seven were at left guard and the last six at center.

There have been six starting combinations, with Adam Koets (injured reserve, knee), Will Beatty, Shawn Andrews, and Boothe getting starts in the combinations. If O'Hara returns, it will mark only the fifth time this season that the Week 1 line of David Diehl, Seubert, O'Hara, Snee, and McKenzie will start.

Giants coach Tom Coughlin listed O'Hara as questionable, which means he has a 50 percent chance of playing. But Seubert was confident that the 11-year veteran would be ready.

"He's been waiting for this for a long time. It's not fun watching," Seubert said. ". . . We've been poking him in the ribs a little bit here and there just to welcome him back on the offensive line."

The question for Coughlin, though, is: Should he change the line? The Giants have rushed for 197 and 213 yards the last two games. But O'Hara, 33, has been a fixture since 2004, so having the veteran line together for a major game might outweigh those concerns.

O'Hara said his foot is about as good as it is going to get. He expects to knock off the rust quickly.

"Something about playing the Eagles makes you feel better all over," O'Hara said. "It's a huge game. It's the biggest game of the year so far. Everybody's excited. We're at home. This is possibly our last home game. We're asking our fans to bring their 'A' game, and we're going to bring our 'A' game."

The Giants struggled to run against the Eagles in a 27-17 loss on Nov. 21. They were limited to 61 yards on 19 carries.

With wide receiver Steve Smith (knee) sidelined for the season and Mario Manningham bothered by a hip injury, the importance of the running game can't be stressed enough.

"If we can get our running backs to the safeties, we have some of the best running backs in the league," O'Hara said of Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw.

Note. Defensive end Osi Umenyiora was fined $12,500 for roughing Minnesota quarterback Tarvaris Jackson late in the fourth quarter on Monday night.