EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- New York Giants safety Kenny Phillips' season ended just days after the best game of his NFL career.
Phillips, who had two interceptions in Sunday night's 33-31 road victory over the Dallas Cowboys, was placed on injured reserve Thursday because of an unhealthy left knee. The Giants also announced that they were awarded safety Aaron Rouse off waivers from the Green Bay Packers.
"I really feel for Kenny because he had worked so hard during the offseason to prepare himself for the '09 season," Giants general manager Jerry Reese said. "He had a great camp and was just beginning to come into his own and showed flashes of being one of the premier safeties in the NFL. We expect him to recover from this setback and come back stronger than ever. This league is about making adjustments, and we will do that."
Phillips had been bothered by the knee since training camp. An MRI exam on Wednesday revealed that the patella femoral arthritis in his knee has worsened, and a final determination on how to treat the condition hasn't been made.
Phillips was stunned that he would have to miss the rest of the season because of the injury.
"It never crossed my mind, ever," Phillips said. "I knew the situation. I just felt I could push it through the season. So to get this news is a real shock."
Phillips leads the Giants in interceptions (two) and tackles (13) and is tied for the lead in passes defended (two).
"The most important thing for us right now is to realize it's an emotional time for Kenny Phillips," said Giants coach Tom Coughlin, noting that Phillips looked like he had lost his best friend after receiving the news. "He had an excellent training camp. He played the deep ball, really, unlike anybody we've had around here."
With Phillips out, C.C. Brown will start in Sunday's game at Tampa Bay.
The 31st overall pick in the 2008 NFL Draft, Phillips played in every game as a rookie and made three starts. He finished with 67 tackles, five passes defended and one interception.
After James Butler left to sign with the St. Louis Rams in the offseason, Phillips took over the Giants' starting job next to Michael Johnson.
"That is probably the toughest part. I worked hard this offseason, and I felt like this was going to be a big year not only for me but for the Giants," Phillips said. "I started the season off pretty well with a few tackles, interceptions, and for it to just get snatched away from me like this is real tough."
Phillips, who missed two of the Giants' four preseason game, doesn't know when he hurt his knee.
"Everybody gets nicks and bruises in training camp, so that's just what I thought it was," he said. "Swelling occurred, but most people get swelling. As long as it goes down, it's not a big deal.
Phillips is the third Giants player to go on injured reserve. Rookie running back Andre Brown ruptured his Achilles' tendon during training camp, and defensive tackle Jay Alford suffered a knee injury during a preseason game in Chicago.
Replacing Phillips on the Giants' roster is Rouse, who made nine tackles in the Packers' 31-24 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals last Sunday. The third-year pro has played in 27 games with 11 starts, recording 113 tackles and four interceptions, including a pick of Peyton Manning that he returned 99 yards for a touchdown last Oct. 19. It was the longest interception return in Lambeau Field history.
Injuries in the secondary have become a concern for the Giants. Cornerbacks Aaron Ross and Kevin Dockery missed the first two games with hamstring injuries and don't appear ready to play Sunday against the Bucs.