"For two months, Markus Kuhn was living the dream.
The German-born defensive tackle and the Giants’ seventh-round draft pick made the roster as a 26-year-old rookie and immediately earned time on the field. He notched his first start in Week 5 against Cleveland as the Giants jumped out to a 6-2 start, but then November hit. In the middle of 31-13 loss to Cincinnati, the Giants’ second straight defeat, on a routine play, Kuhn felt something pop in his knee.
It was the ACL and required season-ending knee surgery. Three months later, Kuhn was up and around at the Timex Performance Center.
“I’m finally off my crutches, which is huge for me because just walking on the crutches all the time got obviously annoying,” Kuhn recently told Giants.com. “But now I’m walking just fine. I’m doing really well with my rehab, and things are going actually a lot better and smoother than I thought they would be.”
WATCH:MARKUS KUHN INSIDER >>
It was the first injury serious enough for the North Carolina State product to miss an extended amount of time.
“Now having a serious injury and having gone through all the long rehab process is something new and definitely something I’d rather not do, but it is what it is,” he said. “I’m making the best out of it right now and it’s getting a lot better already.”
Kuhn played in all 10 games before he went down, recording eight tackles and four passes defensed while also playing a role on special teams. After not taking up the sport until age 15 in Germany, Kuhn soaked up all the knowledge he could in his abbreviated rookie campaign from coaches and veteran teammates.
He said he has a better gauge for the speed of the game now and knows where he has to improve heading into 2013. “I think what I have to work on is becoming a better pass rusher, which is important in the league,” Kuhn said. “And also from a defensive tackle standpoint as well, if you can stop the run, sure, that’s your number one responsibility, but then transform from run into pass and rush the passer.”