The first-place Giants (4-7) should know more later in the week when they get Jones moving around. Right now, coach Joe Judge said there are more questions than answers and they are in “wait-and-see mode” because it’s natural for there to be swelling and tightness the day after an injury.
But there is at least optimism that Jones’ absence won’t be long term. Tests on Monday ruled out a significant tear.
New York plays on Sunday in Seattle. It seems highly unlikely that Jones would be ready for that contest. The following weeks against Arizona or Cleveland are more realistic.
“I couldn’t give you an answer on if it’s one week or more than one week right now,” Judge said Monday afternoon on a Zoom call. “I’m not qualified and, to be honest, the doctors I talked with today, they don’t have that crystal ball either.”
McCoy did just enough in the final quarter and a half to allow the Giants to escape with a 19-17 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday. He completed 6 of 10 passes for 31 yards with no touchdowns and no interceptions.
The saving grace with Jones may be — and every coach seems to say it about him — that he’s really tough. At Duke he had surgery on a broken clavicle, was back at practice nine days later and played three weeks after the injury.
“I’ll say this, this is a tough dude. Like, he’s a tough guy. A very competitive guy,” Judge said. “He wants to be out there, and if we gave him the option today he’d jump out there with duct tape on his leg and try to go at it.”
But the Giants have to make sure they don’t risk Jones being able to play down the stretch with the team in the midst of a tight division race. Judge said it’s imperative with Jones, as it is with all injured players, that he’s not put on the field with the risk of hurting it worse or suffering serious injury. Also, he needs to be able to defend himself on the field at a level necessary to do his job effectively.
These will be the pertinent questions with Jones this week and moving forward.
“Until we can answer those two questions with absolute certainty, we won’t have any answers on what we’re going to do in terms of this week,” Judge said. “I know Daniel is going to do everything he can to get on the field, but sometimes as coaches you have to make a decision to maybe protect the player from themselves.”
Jones, 23, was injured on a run in the third quarter of Sunday’s game. He tried to return later in the game but lasted just two plays. He was unable to drop back and step into a throw.
“Yeah, just felt it on that play and didn’t feel like I could get a lot on it really or do what I needed to do to be effective and move the ball and throw it accurately,” said Jones, who was admittedly uncertain about the severity of the injury after the game. “Just look to rehab it, do whatever I can to heal it up as fast as I can.”
Jones was the sixth overall pick in last year’s draft. He’s completed 63.2% of his passes this season for 2,332 yards with eight touchdowns and nine interceptions.
But he was playing perhaps the best football of his young career before the injury. Jones had gone three straight games without a turnover.
His absence, even for a game, could be costly for the Giants, who have the same record as the Washington Football Team. The Giants hold the tiebreaker after defeating Washington both times the teams played this season.
McCoy, 34, hasn’t won a start since the 2014 season.