Kenny Phillips shows flashes of his old self at Giants practice

ALBANY, N.Y. - There was a deep ball early in practice Wednesday evening that started out looking like the one safeties coach David Merritt was waiting to see: the long pass in Kenny Phillips' area. The one he could finally make a play on. The one that would test his knee and let everyone know it's okay.

That ball never got there. But another one did later on. And Phillips made the play.

The former first-round pick, less than a year removed from microfracture surgery, crossed the field to the left sideline from his spot as the single-high safety. Before the snap, Phillips was lined up where he prefers: well off the ball - 22 yards deep, in fact. Once he saw QB Jim Sorgi start to throw in WR Victor Cruz's direction, Phillips broke. And unlike Tuesday's practice, he didn't jog this time; he sprinted hard and got there to get his hands on the ball to knock it away.

"Superman is back!" cornerback Aaron Ross yelled.

Not all the way. Not yet, anyway. But Phillips, who took two snaps per team period once again, certainly looked more comfortable Wednesday evening.

"I'm trying to be real patient because I know the coaches only want the best for me," Phillips said through the Giants' public-relations staff, as players are off-limits to interviews after practice. "But it is tough, it really is. You know, I want to get those reps, and I want to get my legs under me, but I know this is going to be a long process and whatever they say I'm going to do."

After the low throw early in practice, Phillips told Merritt, "I knew it was pass," to which Merritt replied, "He needed a little more air for ya."
Phillips diagnosed the ball to Cruz even more quickly.

"I kind of recognized what was going on," Phillips said. "I saw the formation - they had a running back and a tight end to the right side of the field with two receivers to the left. So I figured they're not throwing over there to the two sluggo guys, I knew they were throwing it over to the two receivers. So with that already in my mind, once I saw the route, I just took off for it and I was right.

"That definitely felt good. I feel like what I've been doing for these last 11 months and the way the coaches have been letting me gradually get in the ballgame has paid off. I'm just looking forward to that next step - no pain, no soreness. I feel good with my range and everything so I'm just looking forward to it. That's all I'm waiting on."

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