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Kiwanuka ready to play after Sandy scare drove him from home

New York Giants v San Francisco 49ers

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - OCTOBER 14: Linebacker Mathias Kiwanuka #94 of the New York Giants rushes and sacks quarterback Alex Smith #11 of the San Francisco 49ers in the fourth quarter on October 14, 2012 at Candlestick Park in San Francisco, California. The Giants won 26-3. (Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images)

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Part of the reason the Giants can make a sincere statement tomorrow by playing in the wake of Hurricane Sandy is that they’re suffering the same impact as the rest of the residents of New Jersey and New York.

While it’s easy to see professional football players as insulated from real life because of their salaries, they worry about protecting their families too, and Giants linebacker Mathias Kiwanuka admits he wasn’t sure he was going to be able to.

Kiwanuka fled to the top level of his Hoboken townhouse Monday night with his wife, daughter and mother-in-law, and wasn’t able to leave until Wednesday because of the water, sewage and fuel and oil that filled the first floor.

“It wasn’t like the water just came from the Hudson,” Kiwanuka said, via Newsday’s Tom Rock. “The storm drains backed up so the water was literally just coming out of the ground and coming out of the drainage pipes.

“And it came up really fast, so you don’t know how [high], at what point it’s going to stop when you’re in the middle of it. It was tough.”

They made it to a hotel Wednesday, and will likely have to stay there for months, as their home is no longer livable.

“I was displaced from the hurricane, but you still have a job to do, still worry about your family,” he said. “You put things in priority, take care of your family first and then get back to work. You know, it’s New Jersey. It’s a tough state. A state full of tough people. We’ll rebuild, we’ll get back on our feet.

“But in the meantime, we just have to get together and help everybody out.”

Being so close to it makes Kiwanuka want to do his small part, to serve as a distraction, an escape for a few hours. It’s a symbolic gesture, but it’s the one they can make.