Defensive end N.D. Kalu will miss the season after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee during yesterday's practice.

Kalu was filling in for a winded member of the third-team defense when he hurt his knee in a non-contact drill. He fell to the ground and had to be carted off the field.

"His foot got caught in the grass, and he just twisted it," Coach Andy Reid said. "I really feel for N.D. because he's such a good person and a hard worker. He was having a great camp."

Kalu started all 16 games on a defensive line that was limited by injuries last season.

He recorded career highs with 74 tackles and three fumble recoveries, had 51/2 sacks and also scored his first career touchdown.

Derrick Burgess (Eleanor Roosevelt High), who has played one game in the last two years because of injuries, will replace Kalu. Jerome McDougle, a first-round pick a year ago who has been bothered by injuries, also will play more.

* GIANTS: Eli Manning is going to get a chance to open the season as the starting quarterback. Coach Tom Coughlin announced that Manning, the No. 1 pick in the NFL draft, will start ahead of two-time most valuable player Kurt Warner in the preseason game tomorrow night against the Carolina Panthers.

"The decision coming in was that they were going to compete for the job," Coughlin said.

"Therefore, we are going to give both of them the opportunity to start, and this week is Eli's opportunity."

Warner started on Friday in a 34-24 win over the Kansas City Chiefs. Coughlin said his decision had nothing to do with that game. The new Giants coach planned all along to start Manning in the second preseason game, but he didn't bother to tell either player.

Last week, Coughlin said the race for the starting job was about even.

* BEARS: Guard Rex Tucker will miss eight to 10 weeks of the regular season because of a dislocated left elbow.

Free agent acquisition Ruben Brown will become the starter in Tucker's absence, Bears Coach Lovie Smith said.

* JAGUARS: Veteran guard Mike Compton is scheduled for surgery on an injured thumb that will keep him out 10 days to two weeks.