- Associated Press - Thursday, July 31, 2014

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) - After receiving the news that fellow running back David Wilson was going to be sidelined with a neck injury, the rest of the New York Giants backfield have rallied around their injured teammate.

“When I signed here, I knew we had a chance to be a force in the backfield,” said Rashad Jennings, signed as a free agent in the offseason from Oakland.

“We have a good bunch of guys, each one of whom could be the starter. We have a special group. Every one of us has a chance to implement their ability in a unique way.”

Jennings, who had 733 yards rushing and six touchdowns last season, became the Raiders’ top back midway through the season after Darren McFadden suffered an injury.

Jennings said he was glad to see Wilson at practice Thursday. Wilson stood on the sideline during practice, wearing his jersey but no equipment.

“It’s good to see him,” Jennings said. “He was bright-eyed and ready to go. As soon as I saw him walk off the field (during Tuesday’s practice), I hurt as well. He’s a big part of this team and we want him back. I don’t care if a guy walks off the field with a bad pinky, it’s not good. We had to let him know today that we’re here and thinking of him.”

Wilson was not made available to the media on Thursday. The severity of his neck injury was also not released by the team. He remains sidelined after suffering a neck “burner,” according to coach Tom Coughlin.

Wilson will not practice for the remainder of the week and will not play in the Giants’ preseason opener Sunday against the Buffalo Bills in the annual Hall of Fame Game in Canton, Ohio.

“We’re just praying that the kid is OK,” Coughlin said after practice. “Until we hear what the doctors say, we’re obviously concerned. He came back and exhibited no fear. We were really excited to see him out there. Now, we just wait to see.”

Coughlin likes what Jennings brings to the backfield.

Rashad has done well so far,” Coughlin said. “He’s done well with his pass protection schemes. Progress is being made by all of them.”

Jennings quoted Hall of Fame basketball coach John Wooden in talking about Wilson’s injury and what it meant to him personally.

“I live by a quote, ‘When opportunity presents itself, it’s too late to prepare for it,’” Jennings said. “The NFL is all about ‘the next man up’ mentality. No other player should motivate another to work hard. I have to be ready.”

Fellow running back Michael Cox also expressed his concerns about his teammate Wilson and Wilson’s uncertain future.

“We’re all praying for him,” Cox said. “He’s still around and he’s still with us. He’s in a good mood, so that seems good. We just hope it’s nothing too serious and he can get back on the field with us as soon as possible.”

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