Nick Gates of the Giants exits the game following an injury...

Nick Gates of the Giants exits the game following an injury during the first quarter against the Washington Football Team at FedExField on Thursday in Landover, Md. Credit: Getty Images/Rob Carr

After spending the night at Inova Fairfax Hospital in Northern Virginia and surgery to repair his fractured lower leg on Friday morning, Giants offensive lineman Nick Gates is expected to return to the New York area over the weekend.

As for Gates’ return to the field, well, that could be a while. Gates was injured in the first quarter of the loss to Washington, leaving the team without one of its steadiest and most versatile linemen for the rest of the season.

While coach Joe Judge extolled Gates’ toughness and leadership, he also noted that the unit, once it settled into its new configuration, played well. Billy Price, acquired in an Aug. 30 trade with the Bengals, made his first start at center and Ben Bredeson, who came via trade with the Ravens a day later, replaced Gates at left guard.

"I was very encouraged by a lot of things," Judge said of the line, which now has just two of the five starters the team projected during the offseason.

Guard Shane Lemieux is on IR with a knee injury, and Matt Peart has been replaced by Nate Solder at right tackle, leaving just left tackle Andrew Thomas and right guard Will Hernandez.

"I think that unit’s really moving in the direction we want it to and although we’re far from a finished product and far from perfect right now," Judge said, "I’m very encouraged by how these guys continue to work and support each other and take coaching and go out there on a weekly basis."

Notes & quotes: The Giants’ Week 4 game in New Orleans looks like it will be played in New Orleans. Saints coach Sean Payton said Friday that the team plans to return to its home facility following next weekend’s game and play its home opener at the Superdome against the Giants as scheduled on Oct. 3. New Orleans suffered immense damage from Hurricane Ida last month and the Saints played their Week 1 game against the Packers in Jacksonville while the city recovered … After five field goals Thursday night, Graham Gano holds the team record for consecutive kicks made with 35, dating to last season, and he is nine shy of the all-time NFL record of 44 straight set by Adam Vinatieri … The Giants’ 11 accepted penalties on Thursday were their highest total since they had 12 in a 24-3 victory against Washington on Sept. 19, 2019.

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