shane lemieux giants
Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Starting left guard Shane Lemieux exited the Giants’ Thursday training camp practice with an apparent knee injury.

Not the most ideal piece of news emerged from Giants training camp in East Rutherford Thursday.

Second-year player and starting left guard Shane Lemieux was carted off prior to the conclusion of practice due to a knee injury.

Of course, when you hear “knee injury,” you begin to think the worst. But there seems to be some level of optimism in regard to the situation.

“I’d say the next 24-48 hours is when we’ll really kind of understand exactly where he’s at,” head coach Joe Judge said. “I will say this: I’d say the worst-case scenario looks to have been avoided. We’re happy about that. But in terms of trying to come out here and make a diagnosis on Shane, we got to see where he’s at.

“The one thing I’ll tell you for Shane: he’s kind of like a wild animal; he’d chew his leg off through a bear trap if he had to. So him not being out here kind of drives him nuts…my message to him is always when the trainers say you’re 100% healthy to go on the field, we’ll put you on the field.”

Lemieux didn’t practice Friday, but according to Patricia Traina of Sports Illustrated, was outside with the team with his helmet on — a good sign.

Losing Lemieux into the regular season, whether he would miss significant regular-season time or not, would be a noteworthy blow to this Giants offense. The 2020 fifth-round pick out of Oregon started the final nine games of his inaugural pro season last year and proved to be a superior option at that left guard spot than 2018 second-rounder Will Hernandez.

That left side of the line — Lemieux and 2020 first-round tackle Andrew Thomas — is expected to grow together in 2021. The maturing of either individual will be crucial for Daniel Jones’ development and the improvement of the offense as a whole (this Big Blue unit finished 31st in both total yards and points last year).

If Lemieux was to miss time, the Giants would have options for his replacement.

Per Zack Rosenblatt of NJ.com, the team has fielded 32-year-old Kenny Wiggins at left guard but also employs veteran Zach Fulton, who it signed to a one-year deal this offseason.

Hernandez, despite possessing more pro-level experience at left guard, is remaining on the right side.