On the day Daniel Jones was officially ruled out for Monday’s game against the Eagles, the clock started on what could be a return to the starting lineup next Sunday against the Dolphins.
Jones, who was in a walking boot and limited to very little movement for most of this week, managed to take some snaps from center in warm-up drills and even rolled out with the ball in his hands at a jogging pace before the Giants’ practice on Saturday.
When the team’s workout began in earnest, Jones moved to the field house to work with trainers, but that quick glimpse of him in limited action served as the first steps in his comeback.
“We’ll just have to see when we come back to practice [on Wednesday] how much he can do and we’ll take it from there,” Pat Shurmur said of the possibility that Jones’ high ankle sprain will cost him only one game. “I’m no judge as to how far he should be, but he’s making progress.”
The physical discomfort of the injury seems to have less impact on Jones than the pain of being sidelined.
“He feels a little bit caged up, quite frankly,” Shurmur said. “He’s frustrated that he can’t [play]. But that’s the way it goes.”
Defensive lineman Dexter Lawrence, who was Jones’ roommate in training camp, said the rookie quarterback definitely is struggling with his status. “He obviously wants to play,” Lawrence said. “He’s a competitor.”
This week, he won’t get the chance to do that. Eli Manning will start at quarterback against the Eagles, Alex Tanney will be the backup and Jones will watch from the bench. It will be the first game in his short NFL career in which he knows he will not play, but teammates said he has been preparing and studying as if he might.
Maybe that’s just a way to get a jump on an Eagles team he might face again in 20 days, but it’s also how Jones seems to be wired.
“We all know players get injured at times and they have to fight their way back,” Shurmur said. “The one thing I like about his demeanor is he is frustrated and he wants to play. We get here at a very similar time in the 5 o’clock hour [a.m.] and he’s getting treatment and he’s doing everything he can to get ready to play. That’s a good thing when you see a guy want it so badly.”
Notes & quotes: Evan Engram usually is upbeat about returning from injury, but when he was asked on Saturday if he will be able to play again this season, all he could muster was: “I’m going to try my best.” Engram, who seemed to be on track to play Monday night, was ruled out on Saturday with the foot sprain that has sidelined him since Nov. 10. He said he wasn’t able to be as explosive as he needs to be to play this week — “I can’t really do what I do,” he said — but added that surgery is not required and denied that there had been any setback . . . Having Engram out means yet another week in which the Giants will not have all four of their main offensive weapons available. At no point this season have Engram, running back Saquon Barkley and wide receivers Sterling Shepard and Golden Tate been on the field together. “You think about the what-ifs,” said Tate, who is returning from a concussion for Monday’s game . . . Besides Jones and Engram, the Giants ruled out tight end Rhett Ellison (concussion) and cornerback Corey Ballentine (concussion) for Monday. They put safety Jabrill Peppers (back) and linebacker Chris Peace (knee) on injured reserve, activated linebacker Kareem Martin from injured reserve and promoted safety Sean Chandler from the practice squad.