He said he'd be ready by opening day, and he just might be.

Southern Columbia graduate and New York Giants' fullback Henry Hynoski, who injured his medial collateral ligament during a team workout on May 24 and underwent surgery, said he'd do all he could to rehabilitate the injury to be back by opening day, and he took a big step toward that Thursday.

Hynoski was activated from the physically unable to perform list and passed his physical. According to ESPN.New York, Hynoski didn't get any work at practice but still thinks he may be able to play in the first regular season game.

"I'm hoping for it," Hynoski said. "That's my goal, but if it takes to Week 2 or 3, that's fine."

In a phone interview Thursday night, Hynoski said the hardest work he's ever put in as an athlete was this this summer.

"People have asked me, 'Boy, you had an easy summer, huh?, and I tell them it was just the opposite," Hynoski said. "It's been the busiest training camp I've ever had. I quite literally didn't get a break.

"Right after the surgery, I couldn't do a whole lot, obviously. I had a strong brace that went from my ankle to my upper thigh."

Once doctors put him in a smaller brace, the physical rehabilitation started in earnest, with the work centered on strength, balance and eventually, cardiovascular work.

"I probably spent four hours a day in rehab," he said. "Plus at home I would do icing and all the extra little things they wanted me to do."

Now, he says he's ready for some full scale workouts.

"It feels good," Hynoski said. "I'm very happy to be out here with my teammates and just get out here moving around and doing some things.

"We have a very smart medical staff and trainers, and they're going to put me in the right position when they know I'm physically fit to be out there and performing at the best that I can."

In addition to the MCL tear, Hynoski also had a chip fracture in the lateral plateau of his left knee.

Having never been hurt to that degree before, Hynoski said he's anxious to go out on the field to do some hitting and get hit.

"The first day I was able to run and cut a little, I was a little bit nervous about it happening again, but it's like anything else in life, you just have to attack it," he said. "I worked my butt off and I'm in shape. I don't think I'm that far behind. I think it's just a matter of getting out on the field with the other guys. Mentally, football has always come pretty easy for me, so I'm lucky there."

The Giants have been using tight end/H-back Bear Pascoe at fullback and backup tight end Larry Donnell saw some snaps at fullback in the preseason opener.

Hynoski, entering his third season, remains an important cog of the Giants' offense, according to head coach Tom Coughlin.

"There aren't many (fullbacks) around," Coughlin told ESPN New York. "Even today, when you look around in the league, there are not many guys that are 265 (pounds) and have the skill set that Henry has."

Former NFL player Louis Riddick, talking about Hynoski for ESPN.NewYork, echoed Coughlin's comments.

"Because of the type of offense they run, a lot of lead blocking is done by the fullback," Riddick said. "They need him to launch David Wilson and Andre Bruce. He's their get-them-going guy. You're talking about a guy in the 245-250 range who's a throwback type fullback. He knows what his role is."

Hynoski said from what he's seen from the sideline, the Giants seem to be progressing nicely in the preseason.

"We look solid," he said. "We should be a contender in the division and our goal is to get back to the Super Bowl. People are working hard."