Kayvon Thibodeaux made a strong first impression on Giants fans when, after suffering a scary-looking knee injury in the preseason game against the Bengals on Aug. 21, he stood up and walked past the cart that had come onto the field to carry him away.
“Got to go out like a G,” he said, smiling about that scene on Tuesday.
It may be the only impression the rookie outside linebacker makes for a while longer.
Officially considered day-to-day, Thibodeaux was on the practice field Tuesday for the first time since he sprained his MCL and given a tight timeline of 3-4 weeks to return for the opener. He did not do much during the portion of the workout open to the media; mostly some timing exercises with little contact and hardly any movement. He wore a brace on his right knee. His limitations at this point make it difficult to imagine him playing Sunday against the Titans.
“I just have to be able to practice,” Thibodeaux said. “If you don’t practice you don’t play so me just being able to get out there and get some work and do everything I need to do to get my job done.”
That hasn’t happened yet and with just two full practices left before the team leaves for Tennessee on Saturday his regular-season NFL debut likely will have to wait at least another week.
“You have to accept however we go,” he said of the pending decision on his availability and the potential for him to be watching Sunday’s game from the sideline. “Just kind of give in any way I can, realize that if I am not able to play I still have to be engaged and I have to help my team and contribute to the win.”
Complicating matters for the Giants is the simultaneous absence of fellow outside linebacker Azeez Ojulari, sidelined with a calf injury. He, too, was very limited in Tuesday’s practice. If neither plays Sunday it would leave Jihad Ward and Oshane Ximines as the projected starters against the Titans.
“We’re both pressing to get back because we both love the sport,” Thibodeaux said. “But this is the NFL. We have a room full of guys who can get the job done.”
The problem: Not all of them are as G as he.
Notes & quotes: The Giants practiced outside in the rain on Tuesday. After a training camp with very few opportunities to work in bad weather Brian Daboll said he wanted the team to get used to such elements with a 60% chance of rain in Tennessee on Sunday . . . WR Darius Slayton was excused from practice, a conspicuous absence during game week given his tenuous spot on the roster . . . The Giants unveiled their unofficial depth chart for Week 1 which shows Ben Bredeson starting at left guard . . . The Giants signed veteran WR Marcus Johnson to their practice squad and cut WR C.J. Board to make room.