Giants quarterback Daniel Jones warms up before an NFL game against...

Giants quarterback Daniel Jones warms up before an NFL game against the Raiders on Sunday in Las Vegas. Credit: AP/John Locher

When some of the Giants' wide receivers came into the building on Tuesday, the day after an MRI confirmed that Daniel Jones would miss the rest of this season, they found him on a stationary bicycle in the training room already working to strengthen the muscles around his torn right ACL.

They should have been surprised.

They were not.

“A lot of people take a couple days to mourn it or whatever, but not Dan,” Sterling Shepard told Newsday on Wednesday. “He was in here the next day already starting his rehab. That’s just who he is. I didn’t expect anything different than that.”

“Man, he’s a resilient dude,” Parris Campbell added. “I’ve already seen him moving around, stepping over some ladders… He’s right into it.”

The quarterback is attacking this latest physical setback and all the ancillary scenarios that will be born from it in the most Daniel Jones ways possible: Clinically, unemotionally, unbothered by what anyone else thinks or expects.

Even while others around him allow for a certain level of empathy -- “I feel for the guy more than the player,” coach Brian Daboll said – Steely Dan himself barely seems ruffled by the unfortunate circumstances that have derailed not only this team’s season but potentially his future with the franchise.

“It’s tough,” he said of a season that has seen him miss three games with a neck injury and now the rest of this season with the knee. “You put a lot into the season, put a lot into preparing to play. To get it taken from you through an injury is definitely tough. That’s real and something you deal with. But it’s part of the game. I understand that.

“It’s unfortunate but I can’t afford to feel sorry for myself or sulk. I’ll be fine. I’ll bounce back. I’ll attack the rehab process like I have everything else and come back stronger.”

Jones has a clearly defined role on this team for the next two months. It’s one he is already settling into.

He’ll be the helpful voice in meetings and during film study, the guy who can try to usher undrafted rookie Tommy DeVito through his first career start on Sunday against Dallas and whatever else happens to whoever else winds up starting as the season grinds through its second half. He’ll be out of the building for the actual surgery – the date and location of the procedure have not yet been determined – but expects to quickly rejoin the team after that.

“I think guys can benefit from him being in the building and I think he understands that as well,” said Shepard, who held a similar job last season when he suffered a torn ACL. “I’m pretty sure that’s what he’ll do. As much as he can be in here I’m sure he’ll be in here. I don’t anticipate that changing in any way.”

Jones will still be a leader. Still be a captain. Still be everything a starting quarterback is supposed to be… minus the actual quarterbacking of course.

That’s the easy part.

It’s the afterward that gets complicated.

Whether that role will still be available for him when he is cleared to return to the field, likely around the start of 2024 training camp, remains a mystery to all involved. The Giants are likely to entertain thoughts of drafting a new quarterback this spring, one who might eventually usurp Jones as the frontman of this band. The potential for that to happen always existed; it’s why the Giants gave themselves a possible out after two years in the four-year contract they gave Jones this past offseason. This injury only makes that escape clause look smarter. Sweeter.

Jones is no dope. He understands all of this.

He just refuses to be publicly affected by it.

“In terms of my future, what I’m thinking about is just [the rehab],” Jones said. “Come back stronger and a better football player in the future.”

He said he hasn’t had The Talk with the coaches or executives on the topic. It’s so far been an unspoken part of the equation.

“The conversations I’ve had with Dabes have been mostly about this injury, healing up, staying upbeat and staying positive,” Jones said.

There are roughly a dozen players in the Giants locker room to whom Jones can turn for advice on recovering from a torn ACL, and hundreds more NFLers outside those walls. Jones has already been shopping around to pick a surgeon and getting thoughts regarding the all-too-familiar process on which he is about to embark.

What few will be able to relate to is the prospect of having as lofty a status as franchise quarterback for the New York Giants potentially stripped from him while he hits all those physical benchmarks and milestones.

“You can tell he’s gonna crush rehab for sure,” Campbell said. “He’s gonna work his [butt] off. He’s gonna be one of those dudes where you see him out there and you’ll say ‘He had his ACL surgery how long ago and he’s already up doing that?’ He’s gonna be one of those guys.”

Jones will come back. There is little doubt regarding that. The success rate for these surgeries has become astronomically high.

What he’ll be coming back to is the more unanswerable question right now.


Unlimited Digital AccessOnly 25¢for 5 months