The New York Giants’ 2022 season has been full of pleasant surprises. The team has stated by winning six of their first eight games and the future is looking bright for the first time in a decade.
One story that has gotten lost is the incredible comeback of offensive lineman Nick Gates from a devastating leg injury in Week 2 of the 2021 season.
“My first worry was that he was going to lose his leg,” Gates’ mother, Sonja, told the New York Post. “I wanted him to have a leg and to be able to play with his children when he has them. Football was not foremost on my mind. It was on his. Every doctor we saw, every time he saw a doctor, that was his first question: ‘Am I going to be able to play football again?’”
Gates’ multiple leg fracture was initially considered a possible career-ender, but his determination to play again after seven surgeries kept him focused and 13 months later, Gates is back on the Giants’ NFL roster against all odds.
He suited up for the first time since the injury last week in the Giants’ Week 8 game against the Seahawks in Seattle.
“My whole goal coming here was so I could be here to watch him run on that field in a uniform ready to play if he gets that opportunity,” Sonja said last week before the game. “After the long 13 months he’s gone through with the physical pain, the emotional pain, for us to be there and watch him walk out on that field, that’s all we care about.
“Would we love to see him play? Absolutely, because I know that’s what he wants to do.”
Gates and his family got their wish when he was inserted for five plays during the game and provided a key block on Saquon Barkley’s touchdown run.
“Just seeing him run out onto that field was my dream come true,” Sonja said. “But for Nick, I know that getting out there to play again was his dream. And what more can you ask for than to see your children’s dreams come true?”
Gates, a former team captain, had — and has — the full support of his teammates and the Giants’ organization. He epitomizes the grit and drive this team has shown this season.
“He’s a leader on this team still,” Barkley said. “What he’s been through and the way that he’s worked — he never gave up. He’s the comeback player of the year in my mind.”