EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -A little less than a month after spraining his right knee in the season opener, Brandon Jacobs is ready to return to his job as the New York Giants' starting halfback.
There's a little problem, though. Derrick Ward has played so well filling in for him that coach Tom Coughlin has to decide how to split the work.
The unwritten rule in football is that a starter never loses his job because of an injury, and Jacobs was the successor to the retired Tiki Barber coming into this season.
Coughlin refused to say whether Jacobs would start against the Jets (1-3) on Sunday. He intends to wait until the end of the week before making a decision who starts and how much time each player gets.
``Obviously there are plays that they would run which would be the same, but there are different reasons for using them and you would like to be able to utilize their talent,'' Coughlin said.
Jacobs insisted he was ready to roll, even noting his days on the scout team are over.
``I am not Thomas Jones this week,'' Jacobs said, referring to the Jets' starting halfback. ``I will be Brandon Jacobs from here on out. I hope so. I just have to get in and get myself back in that condition to where I am running and cutting and doing all kinds of different things. Today, I felt very good. I am just ready to get out and get it going.''
While Jacobs wants to play, there is no way the Giants (2-2) can take Ward totally out of the lineup.
Ward has rushed for 353 yards on 73 carries, a 4.8-yard average, and he has caught 17 passes for 114 yards. He is tied for ninth in the NFL in rushing with Shaun Alexander of Seattle. His 467 yards from scrimmage are also tied for ninth in the league.
Ward is willing to share the load with Jacobs all season.
``What he is lacking, I have in my game, and (what) I am lacking, he has in his game,'' Ward said. ``We'll be OK for the rest of the season.''
When asked to define what each is lacking, Ward stated the obvious about the 6-foot-4, 264-pound Jacobs, who is 5 inches taller and 36 pounds heavier.
``I'm lacking how big he is,'' Ward said. ``Just look at him. He's just a big boy. It's not fair. I tell everybody: 'It's not fair.' I call him my little big brother. Tiki is my big little brother.''
The one thing that may make Coughlin's decision a little easier is that Ward has been bothered by a sore ankle the past week. It should clear the way for Jacobs to get some carries.
With his size, Jacobs might be a good fit against the Jets. They have a quick defense that is not overly big up front.
However, he is leaving the decision up to the coaching staff.
``We have no selfish people in our backfield, none whatsoever,'' Jacobs said. ``I would love to get 40 carries and run to daylight every time. That's the way it goes. It's a long season and I hope to have a long career. To avoid having a short career and a short season, you need two backs in the backfield.''

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