(Reuters) - New York Giants rookie running back David Wilson, who had a breakout game last week, could play a bigger role against the Atlanta Falcons in Sunday’s NFL showdown after injuries ruled out starter Ahmad Bradshaw.
Bradshaw, who has knee and foot injuries, was declared out for the possible playoff preview between the NFC East-leading Giants (8-5) and the NFC South champions Falcons (11-2) in Atlanta.
Wilson, who rushed for 100 yards and scored three touchdowns including a kickoff return last week against New Orleans, was expected to move into the starter’s role.
Tight-lipped Giants coach Tom Couglin said he thought the speedy, diminutive Wilson could be the kind of back to handle 20 carries if needed, but that the team had options.
“I think he could be,” Coughlin told reporters at the team’s practice facility. “There’s no reason why he couldn’t be, but...we have a couple other guys that are going to help us in different ways.”
New York has only two other back-up runners signed as free agents a couple of weeks ago besides fullback Henry Hynoski, who could also see more extensive action.
Wilson set a franchise record for all-purpose yards against the Saints, boosted by a 97-yard kickoff return for a touchdown and two other returns of more than 50 yards.
With Bradshaw hobbled, he took regular snaps at running back and burst through for a 52-yard touchdown that put him on the century mark for yards rushing in the game.
The first-round pick out of Virginia Tech has just 41 rushes for 211 yards this season after finding himself on the bench much of the season after fumbling in the first game and struggling to master pass-protection assignments.
“I think I had a great week of practice,” said Wilson.
“I know my assignments and I know what to expect and just having a great week of practice and showing the coaches and building their confidence so they’re not worried and rolling in their sleep hoping that I can pull it together on Sunday.”
Cornerback Prince Amukamura (hamstring) and safety Kenny Phillips (knee) also will not play against Atlanta.
Reporting by Larry Fine, Editing by Gene Cherry