No one ever wants to see a player lost for the year because of an injury suffered in a preseason game. For James Jones, watching former Packers teammate and good friend Jordy Nelson tear his ACL this weekend was devastating.
"Oh my goodness, it hurts me to even talk about it," Jones, a first-year Giant, said on Tuesday. "That dude works extremely hard and for him to be out for the season before the season even starts, I feel his pain."
The Giants have lost two players to season-ending injuries so far in their first two games. Rookie Mykkele Thompson suffered an Achilles injury in Week 1 and safety Bennett Jackson tore his ACL last Saturday. Neither is as high-profile as Nelson, though, whose injury has reignited the years-old debate about the benefits of preseason games versus the risks, about how many preseason contests NFL teams should play and who should play in them.
"To me you definitely need [preseason] games," said Jones, an eight-year veteran who has been on the field for the Giants this summer trying to make the team and leads them in receptions through two games. "I don't think you need four of them, but I think you definitely need games to see how people perform under the lights."
Some have suggested that joint practices could take the role of preseason games, but given the way some teams have come to blows during those multi-team sessions this year, it's hard to see coaches and front offices agreeing to that. Plus, Jones said, it's just not the same.
"There's nothing like a game," he said. "There's nothing like catching a ball and knowing someone is trying to take your head off and getting tackled and things like that. When you are out at a joint practice knowing that a guy isn't going to hit you, it makes it a lot easier."
Jones did have one failsafe solution.
"Injuries are going to happen, whether it's one preseason game, two preseason games or four preseason games," he said. "You hope they don't, but they're going to happen. The only way we're going to stop injuries is to have no preseason games."