Quarterback Phil Simms of the New York Giants is almost certain to require surgery on his right knee that will keep him out for the season, Coach Ray Perkins said today.

"We are still 75 percent sure he tore his medial collateral ligament completely and that there is some damage to the interior cruciate ligament," Perkins said.

Simms injured the knee Saturday night during the Giants' 22-10 exhibition victory over the New York Jets at the Meadowlands.

Perkins already has begun attempts to find a quarterback to back up Scott Brunner, who was challenging Simms for a starting job.

Simms will undergo an arthroscopic examination Monday morning to determine the extent of damage to the ligaments, Perkins said. If either ligament is torn badly, Simms will have surgery immediately and will be lost for the season.

The best Simms can hope for, Perkins said, is five to six weeks of inactivity if the knee can be repaired with microsurgery.

Simms was hit while dropping back to pass late in the first quarter. Defensive end Joe Klecko hit Simms under his left shoulder and spun him around as he released the ball. Tackle Abdul Salaam dived into Simms' extended right leg as the quarter-back fell backward.

"It just happened so quick, I don't really know what happened," said Simms after learning of the diagnosis. "He hit me from the side and I just felt my left knee bend like a rubber band. I really felt it go and I tell you, it hurt like hell."

Simms missed last season's final seven games, including two in the playoffs, after suffering a separated right shoulder. Brunner led the Giants to their first winning season in a decade and a playoff victory.

Perkins said if Simms had not been injured, he would have announced Monday who would start the Sept. 12 season opener.