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Pierce expected to play, details emerge

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Linebacker Antonio Pierce called a New York Giants trainer almost immediately after Super Bowl hero Plaxico Burress accidentally shot himself and was told where to take the wounded receiver.

A day after suspending Burress for conduct detrimental to the team, the Giants on Wednesday revealed key details about how Burress ended up at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center early Saturday after accidentally shooting himself at a Manhattan nightclub.

Giants spokesman Pat Hanlon said trainer Ronnie Barnes wanted Burress near the Hospital for Special Surgery, which is located next door, in case the injury to his right thigh required any orthopedic work by team physicians.

The team said Mark Drakos, a doctor from the Hospital for Special Surgery who has treated Giants players in the past, examined Burress after he was paged by New York Presbyterian. The team said it was a coincidence that Drakos was on call.

The details emerged Wednesday as authorities continued to investigate Pierce's involvement in the shooting.

When Barnes arrived at the hospital, he asked to see Burress, by name, and was taken to the room where he was being treated. Barnes later learned Burress had been issued a hospital ID bracelet with an alias, and Hanlon said neither Barnes nor the Giants had any involvement with Burress being admitted under a false name.

While Barnes waited outside the room, an attending physician approached Barnes and said Burress had suffered no vascular injuries. She then returned to the treatment room. The team said Barnes did not know the doctor and was not in the room while she was treating Burress.

Dr. Josyann Abisaab has been suspended for not reporting Burress' gunshot injury, as required by law.

Abisaab, who's affiliated with the hospital and specializes in internal and emergency medicine, could not be reached for comment.

Police still want to interview the people at the hospital who treated Burress and did not report the shooting, as required by law.

Authorities are trying to determine whether Pierce tried to cover up the shooting. Unlike Burress, who's charged with illegal weapons possession, Pierce has yet to be charged -- or talk to police.

Pierce's attorney Michael Bachner said they're working out details about when that will happen. Bachner said he did speak to prosecutors in the Manhattan District Attorney's office immediately after being retained.

Police say Pierce returned to New Jersey with Burress' gun in the glove compartment of his black Cadillac Escalade. Investigators have impounded the SUV to search it for any blood or gun residue.

Earlier Wednesday, Giants coach Tom Coughlin said there's no need to consider potential punishment of Pierce right now.

"There is no doubt we'll do the right thing," Coughlin added, "and that's no threat to the players, they know that."

Pierce is expected to play Sunday against Philadelphia, with the Giants (11-1) on the verge of clinching the NFC East and gaining a first-round playoff bye.

Even if the team makes the playoffs, Burress won't be a part of it.

The team fined and suspended Burress for four games, the rest of the regular season, Tuesday. The Giants also placed him on the reserve non-football injury list, which means he is not eligible to return to the active roster for the playoffs.

The NFL Players Association, however, said in a statement that it was reviewing the Giants' actions and planned to file a grievance, saying Burress' collective bargaining rights were violated.

"I had a conversation with Plaxico. He was very humble. He was remorseful," Coughlin said. "Obviously that doesn't change anything. But you have to understand that he is part of our team and our concern is with he and his family's well being, and the ability of him to get through this circumstance and be healthy again."

Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press

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