He'd just gotten back and he was already talking about last chances.

This is what it’s come down to for Terrell Thomas. On Tuesday the Giants activated the cornerback from the physically-unable-to-perform list and he practiced with the team for the first time in more than a year. It marked the beginning of what Thomas hopes will be a return to prominence after back-to-back seasons short-circuited by right ACL injuries.

Except Thomas knows it could also very easily be the beginning of the end.

“That’s how I look at it to be honest with you” Thomas said “because in this league they’re looking for the next guy and there’s always competition. Especially when you have a lot of injuries they count you out. But you never know.”

No one knows how the Terrell Thomas story will end because no one — not even Thomas — knows exactly how much his rebuilt right knee can take. It’s a knee that has undergone three reconstructive ACL surgeries two in the last two seasons.

He opened this training camp on the PUP list although he said that was because of a hamstring injury and his knee is fully healthy. He’ll handle about 50% of the reps in camp he said and he hopes to be active for the regular-season opener in Dallas but he will not play in Saturday’s preseason opener in Pittsburgh.

He hasn’t played a down of football since the 2011 preseason. Back then he was an up-and-coming corner a franchise building block for the Giants. Then he tore his right ACL in a preseason game against the Bears instantly ending his season. A year later after a furious rehab he returned to training camp in Albany and promptly re-tore the ACL.

It’s no wonder Thomas admitted he was “a little bit” nervous Tuesday.

“I’m not going to lie to you” he said. “I’ve been waiting for this moment so I think it’s natural to be nervous when you’ve (not) been playing for so long.”