Daniel Jones might end up missing more than just one game with his neck injury. And there seems to be at least a chance that his season could be in jeopardy, too.
The Giants are bracing for the 24-year-old quarterback to possibly miss several games with what the team is calling a “strained neck,” according to a source familiar with the situation. That’s a possibility that even Giants coach Joe Judge alluded to Friday after he ruled Jones out of the Giants’ game on Sunday in Miami. He said “there’s no answers now” about any games beyond that.
The more alarming part, though, is that Judge was asked several times this week if the injury could end Jones’ season and each time he declined to refute it. The most he would say was “not at this point.”
Some of that may have been gamesmanship on the part of the Giants’ coach, but there also appears to be some genuine uncertainty about just how long Jones will be out. As a source told SNY early in the week, “It could be days, it could be weeks with this kind of injury.”
All Judge would concede is that his quarterback has not been cleared for contact by team doctors. And as for when that might happen, he said, “We don’t have any answers on the immediate future yet.”
“There’s really gray area in what it is,” Judge said. “There’s really no final decision on (whether it’s season-ending). Obviously, at this point, we’re pushing to get him on the field as soon as he’s healthy and ready to go.”
Judge clarified that the “gray area” wasn’t in the diagnosis, but about when doctors might clear Jones for contact.
“In terms of what it’s going to look like in the immediate weeks coming up and future weeks down the stretch, there’s no answers right now,” Judge said. “Everything else would be hypothetical or guessing at this point.”
Judge refused to offer any specifics on Jones’ injury and wouldn’t answer if there was any structural damage or anything beyond a strained muscle in the quarterback’s neck. But the injury was clearly serious enough that the Giants have been planning since early in the week to give backup quarterback Mike Glennon at least one start. In fact, when they signed Jake Fromm off the Bills’ practice squad on Tuesday they told him he’d need to get ready to be Glennon’s backup this week.
Still, Jones participated in practice all week and took reps with the first team offense. Judge said that was because “I don’t want to do anything that would de-condition him and set him back for him being ready for future games.” Jones didn’t appear to have any problems moving or throwing the ball during the parts of practice that were open to the media. And a team source said he was pushing the doctors to clear him to play.
But they didn’t, which would seem to be a sign that they believe a hit or tackle could potentially make his neck injury worse -- something they obviously wouldn’t want to risk. Jones will still make the trip to Miami and will accompany the Giants to Tuscon, Ariz., where they will train all next week ahead of their game against the Los Angeles Chargers on Dec. 12. He’ll next see the team doctors on Monday and will be re-evaluated throughout the week.
For now, at least, there don’t appear to be any plans to put Jones on injured reserve, which would require him to be out a minimum of three games. That could conceivably change if the Giants lose on Sunday, to fall to 4-8 on the season and end whatever longshot playoff hopes they might have had.
But at the moment, the Giants seem to be clinging to the hope that Jones won’t have to miss all of the rest of his third NFL season.
“We just have ruled him out for this week,” Judge said. “We’ll evaluate everything for the future as we get through it.”