Joe Judge said Monday that tests on Daniel Jones’ right hamstring revealed "more question marks than answers."
That may be a good thing, because one of the potential answers hanging over the organization between the time the quarterback left the field on Sunday and when he left the MRI tube on Monday was that he’d torn the muscle and could miss the rest of the season. That was not the case.
Nor was Jones given a completely clean bill of health by the medical staff, another possible but unlikely outcome.
Instead, a source confirmed to Newsday that the imaging showed a strain, which may keep Jones off the field for Sunday’s game against the Seahawks. It allows for the possibility that he could return in time for that contest, but a more likely scenario is that he will be back on the field Dec. 13 when the Giants host the Cardinals.
"I’m not qualified [to predict Jones’ return], and to be honest, the doctors I talked to today, they don’t have that crystal ball to look through either right now," Judge said. "A lot of it is we have to wait to see how this guy responds in a couple of days, and can he move around the field, and can he do anything?"
That process already has begun with a rehabilitation plan and will start in earnest when the team returns to the practice field on Wednesday.
"There is not much to hide with these types of injuries," Judge said. "We just have to give the player a few days to get out there and see where it really is . . . We have to see how it reacts to a couple of days of treatment and what we can do to get him going on the grass."
Danny Dimes, in other words, is currently Danny Day-to-Day.
Jones will have this week of practices to reach two criteria that Judge said he uses for every injured player who returns. The first is if he can play without making the injury worse (and hamstrings are notorious for getting worse). The second is if he can protect himself on the field.
"Until we can answer those two questions with absolute certainty, we won’t have any answers in terms of what we will do 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 a player from himself and get through their competitiveness . . . There are going to be guys rushing at him to try to take his head off. I want to make sure I don’t put a guy out there in a position where he can’t defend himself."
If Jones is unable to play, backup quarterback Colt McCoy likely will start in his place.
In the third quarter of Sunday’s game against the Bengals, Jones felt something in the back of his right leg on a 7-yard run. He remained in the game for two more plays before heading to the sideline, with McCoy finishing the drive.
Jones later returned to the game but again lasted just two plays before leaving the field for good. Both times he was unable to get much push off his right leg while throwing.
"This is a tough dude," Judge said. "He’s a tough guy and a competitive guy and he wants to be out there. If we gave him the option today, he’d jump out there, I’m sure, with duct tape on his leg and try to go at it."
Jones has led the Giants to three straight victories — three games in which he has avoided turning the ball over — and into a tie for first place in the NFC East as of Sunday’s win in Cincinnati. He also is the team’s leading rusher, which is an element of his game that could be hampered the most by the leg injury.
Judge downplayed that part of the equation.
"Would it maybe change some of the things we would call in the game plan? Possibly," he said. "If we felt this wasn’t something he could hurt worse or something that he could still go out and defend himself by just playing a little bit different with the play-calling, I would have no issue putting him out there with that."
Such a decision is at the very least a few days away.
The Giants are just glad for now that, based on the MRI, they’ll likely get to make it at some point rather than have it made for them.