Giants kicker Graham Gano, who tested positive for the COVID-19 virus two weeks ago, is back working with the trainers, a sign that Gano is no longer stricken with the COVID-19 virus.
Head coach Joe Judge said he was “very optimistic” about Gano’s chances to be ready for Sunday’s game but added that they wanted to look at him during Friday’s practice to see how Gano is moving around.
“We should get to see him out there at practice kicking today,” Judge said. “He was working on the side independently with trainers yesterday swinging his leg a little bit. I just asked him how he felt today, and he said he felt good, overall. I just have to see how sore he may be and obviously see him.”
Gano posted a video of himself kicking into a net inside his hotel room, where he spent his quarantine period.
“He obviously wasn’t backing up too far in that hotel room to test his range,” Judge said. “We’ll have him moving around today if we’re allowed to.”
The Giants elevated Ryan Santoso from their practice squad after Gano tested positive for the virus a couple of days after the Eagles game. The assumption is that if Gano can go, Santoso will be sent back to the practice squad.
Update: Special teams coordinator Thomas McGaughey said that for this week, at least, he anticipated the Giants carrying both kickers and making a game-time decision.
In other health-related news, rookie second-round pick Xavier McKinney, who was designated to return and who has been practicing with the team since that designation, is on track to return by Sunday.
“I'm going to give him one more day to move around out there,” Judge said before the team took the field for Friday’s practice. “I would say I’m encouraged the way he's moved around and looked so far. You know, the little bit we were able to see of him rehabbing before this. He looked like he was in shape to come back. I'd say that everything's been on track with him being in a timely return.
“Today's gonna be a big day for him in terms of situations, how he can handle it. There's more to it than just being able to run around out there. We've gotta make sure mentally he can fire on the same page as everybody else, but we're gonna make the decision after practice.”
If McKinney, who fractured his foot in training camp, is activated, as it sounds like will be the case, he’ll probably receive a handful of snaps in specific packages, though not necessarily at the expense of Logan Ryan.
“There’s no ego about that there. I think you’re talking to the wrong guy when it comes to worrying about that,” Ryan said earlier this week when asked if he was concerned about his role once McKinney returned.
“We have a lot of versatile players. We’re getting healthier, we’re getting better. We’re getting talented players back. I’m excited to see how it unfolds. … You can never have too many good players on the field.”
Judge was also asked about inside linebacker Tae Crowder, who has been on injured reserve with a hamstring strain. He said that Crowder is trending in the right direction, though Judge didn’t quite sound as certain about Crowder’s chances of returning this week as he did with McKinney’s.
“He's had a good week of practice. We bracketed with some other guys in case he can't go and get somebody else involved with that spot as well,” Judge said. “But he's taken his share of reps, you know. We're really looking to see right now how he responds from a harder day yesterday and see where he's at physically.”
Cornerback James Bradberry, who had been excused by Judge this week to tend to a personal matter, was back at practice for the Giants on Friday.
“All signs would indicate that he should play for us,” Judge said, adding that while he was away, Bradberry ensured he followed the league health and safety protocols with respect to the COVID-19 virus.
“He was back last night. He's been in all the Zoom meetings with us for install throughout the week. So in terms of meeting wise, he hasn't missed anything with us. He's obviously missed the on-field practice time, but this is something we wanted to make sure he could take care of.”
One area where the Giants could find themselves a little thing this week said that offensive tackle. Matt Peart remains on the reserve/COVID-19 list and will not play this weekend. Judge said they have been working Kenny Wiggins, Chad Slade, and Jackson Barton at tackle this week to ensure they have depth at the position should they want to go with a rotation at that spot.
And speaking of a rotation, Judge said that the plan is to rotate the guards—Will Hernandez, Shane Lemieux, and Kevin Zeitler—this weekend, much in the same way he’s rotated the offensive tackles.
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