Landon Collins knows what probably needs to happen.
“I shouldn’t play,” he said of the rest of the season while dealing with a sore left ankle injury that he aggravated in Sunday’s loss to the Eagles. “No, not at all. I should not. That’s the correct answer. But that’s not going to be my answer.”
Instead, the Pro Bowl safety intends to gut his way through the final two games.
“That’s not built in me,” Collins said. “I’m definitely going to give my other guys some reps at the position, but I’m definitely not in the mindset to shut it down.”
Collins has started and played in every game since he was drafted by the Giants in 2015. On Sunday against the Eagles he convinced the Giants he could play with a pregame warmup but had to leave in the first half.
“I just felt like my presence on the field would help my defense,” he said. “It kind of did in the first half and I tried to just make it work from there. It was working until I tweaked it.”
Collins did not practice on Wednesday. Interim coach Steve Spagnuolo almost seemed frightened to even discuss with Collins the possibility of shutting him down.
“Have you seen him yet today? Have you asked him that yet?” Spagnuolo said regarding the subject. “He’s still hopeful. We’ll see. We’ve got to be careful.”
Collins is not worried about careful.
“There’s always a danger,” he said of making the ankle injury worse. “It happens. It’s the game of football. I know my health, I know where I’m at with it, and I know my limitations.”
One of those was apparent on Sunday.
“I think last week my only thing was I couldn’t put too much pressure on it, I couldn’t hold the line of scrimmage if I got blocked, I couldn’t hold him off,” Collins said. “That’s one of my limitations I have to know so I can be able to get off a block and make a play. Just knowing my limitations and giving my ankle and my body a rest and giving my other guys a chance to go out there and make plays.”
Collins said he knows that he may not be able to convince the Giants that he is healthy enough to play in Arizona, and he may not be able to force his way onto the field through sheer toughness. The Giants have spoken in the past few weeks about “protecting Collins from himself,” and this Sunday might be a case when that is the prudent call.
“That’s why my guys are taking all of the practice reps and stuff like that and getting an understanding,” Collins said of this week’s plan. “Because if I’m not in the game, they’ll have to know what’s going on. That’s what we’ll be doing this week.”