The New York Giants defeated the 49ers 30-27 at MetLife Stadium on Sunday Night Football. It was a hard-fought game that saw each team trading touchdowns until the end. It was a battle dictated in the trenches and through the air. The game was won in the final seconds, when Eli Manning hit Larry Donnell with a spectacular catch in the end zone for the go-ahead score.
But one soldier was missing from the battle.
Daniel Fells was in a hospital suffering with a staph infection. The infection is so severe that the eighth-year tight end may lose his foot. The infection is called Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). The infection is resistant to many types of antibiotics. Doctors are now fearful that the ailment may travel to his bone and infect his bloodstream.
The career of the 32-year-old Fells is likely to be over. The damage done to his ankle and foot are extensive. While a source says the foot remains intact, the severity of the illness will probably keep Fells from ever playing again.
Giants spokesman Pat Hanlon said, “This is a serious situation that has been taken seriously from the beginning. We’re all fighting for Daniel.” In fact, several Giants officials have visited Fells, including GM Jerry Reese and head coach Tom Coughlin.
The situation arose when Fells suffered a toe injury, then an ankle injury. To treat it, Fells was given a cortisone shot. After a week of ankle and foot pain, Fells’ wife took him to the emergency room on October 2 with a 104-degree temperature. There, they found his ankle was infected with MRSA.
As reported by Pro Football Talk, the Giants scrubbed their locker rooms and meeting areas under the supervision of infectious disease specialists. The procedure is routinely carried out in order to prevent the highly contagious disease from spreading. Players were briefed on precautions and how to prevent the spread of MRSA.
MRSA is not a new disease floating around the NFL. The infection has been contracted by professional and college athletes. The Buccaneers dealt with an outbreak of MRSA in their team facilities a couple of years ago, and face a lawsuit from former kicker Lawrence Tynes related to the infection that ended his career.
Head coach Tom Coughlin sounded upbeat, but guarded, when asked about the condition of Daniel’s foot. He steered away from rumors that Fells’ foot had already been amputated.
“I don’t think he’s out of the woods. I didn’t say that. I think these three straight days are really a wonderful sign, but there are more tests to be done. And again the response to the antibiotic is critical. Everyone was able to cheer him on and try to make him feel better. He was very nice in saying that he watched the game and he was very proud of how we finished it.”
Coughlin said Fells hopes to be out of the hospital by Thursday. The Giants organization will likely do the right thing and stand by Fells if he does lose his foot and his playing days are over.
The Giants dedicated the game ball to Fells after their victory over the 49ers. That was enough to make him smile for the moment. Unfortunately, it may be the last game ball he receives.
[Photo by Michael B. Thomas / Getty Images]