The New York Giants are activating offensive lineman Nick Gates off the Physically Unable to Perform list, according to multiple reports, re-adding Gates to their 53-man roster over a year after a catastrophic leg injury threatened to end his NFL career. Gates' activation comes three weeks after the Giants opened his practice window.
Gates, a former undrafted free agent out of Nebraska, started his career as a backup before emerging as the team's starting center and quarterback Daniel Jones' personal protector in 2020. Gates infused the Giants' offensive line with much-needed attitude and toughness, as evidenced by his refusal to back down against Aaron Donald, quickly making him a favorite among fans and teammates to the point that he was named team captain in 2021.
But then, everything changed when Gates' left leg was shattered during the Giants' Week 2 game against Washington. Gates broke his tibia in three pieces while also breaking his fibula, an injury so severe that there were legitimate fears it could be career-ending. According to Dan Duggan of The Athletic, Gates' leg required seven surgeries, including four fasciotomies to treat compartment syndrome and a skin graft to close an incision.
Despite the severity of his injury and the laborious nature of his recovery, Gates told reporters several weeks ago that he was driven by wanting to play football again.
"Just being out there is fun," Gates said. "I don't know how else to explain it, but I was watching the last game up in the box the last couple of weeks we were playing and I'm like, 'I just want to be back out there again with the guys and just have fun.'
"What other job lets you hit people and basically do whatever you want? It's a fun time."
Should Gates be able to play against the Seattle Seahawks, his return to the field would be a timely one for the Giants after their offensive line lost both left guard Ben Bredeson and right tackle Evan Neal to knee injuries in their Week 7 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars. Gates has position versatility, as he has experience playing guard and also started three games at right tackle at the end of the 2019 season.