EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Daniel Jones said on a conference call Monday that he expected to be "good to go" for the Giants' game Monday night in Philadelphia, despite the ankle injury he suffered the day before against Green Bay.
That optimism evaporated today when it was revealed the injury is a high ankle sprain. Although coach Pat Shurmur called it "moderate," he also said Eli Manning will "very likely" be the starter in Lincoln Financial Field.
"It's pretty disappointing, especially after thinking I was going to be able to play," said Jones, who has started each of the last 10 games. "Meanwhile, I understand it, I guess, and hopefully it'll heal up pretty quick."
Jones spoke Monday prior to undergoing an MRI, which revealed the details of the injury and forced a re-evaluation of his availability.
"I guess just the MRI and looking into it," he said when asked what had changed. "Obviously, I want to be out there and we'll see how it heals, but yeah, I think just the MRI."
Jones refused today to rule himself out of Monday's game.
"I think right now I'm going to take it day by day and see how it feels and do the best I can to heal as quickly as I can," he said. "So, we'll see."
Shurmur also was not prepared to declare definitively that Jones will be inactive Monday, but the realist in him is preparing a gameplan with Manning as the quarterback.
"At this point, Daniel hasn't been able to practice today," Shurmur said. "If we had to play tomorrow, he couldn't play. As the week goes on, it'll be more and more evident that he's not going to be ready to go. As we practice, Eli takes all the reps and then we move on."
Jones was hurt on a run while converting a fourth down in the second quarter on Sunday. He was examined by the team's medical staff but didn't miss a snap.
"It hurt," Jones said. "I knew something was wrong, but I didn't know if it would keep me from playing or not. … I felt it, but it was alright, something I could manage."
Shurmur said Jones' injury is "not as severe" as the ankle sprain suffered in September by Saquon Barkley, who missed three games. But everyone heals differently and, yes, he will return as the starter if physically able.
"When he comes back, sure," said Shurmur, who earlier had said, "we take everything week to week."
Jones led the Giants to victories in each of his first two starts, but the team has lost its last eight games. Including a cameo appearance late in the fourth quarter of the opening game in Dallas, Jones has completed 228 of 370 passes for 2,374 yards – all Giants rookie records - and 18 touchdowns, the most by a rookie quarterback this season.
His primary drawback has been turnovers. Jones has thrown 11 interceptions and lost 10 fumbles. But his teammates and coaches are excited about his rapid and substantial improvement.
"He has been doing a good job for us," wide receiver Sterling Shepard said. "He's been getting a role and that's what this thing is, a learning experience. He's getting better and better every week, so it's tough to see him have to take this little break. You have to move on, it's the next man up mentality, that's what we have this week."
Although he said the Giants have not yet considered shutting down Jones for the remainder of the season, Shurmur didn't hesitate to discuss Jones' future.
"I think he made tremendous progress," Shurmur said. "He has a very, very bright future. I think that's something we'll talk about when the season is over. There are certainly things and areas that he needs to improve. But he displayed an ability to stand in there tough, make good throws, he got us in the end zone. Unfortunately, as we move along, and I think that's part of his development, some of the mistakes he made, he'll clean up as time goes on."
Giants make roster move
*The Giants today signed defensive back defensive back Rashaan Gaulden to their practice squad. Gaulden, 6-1 and 200 pounds, played in 24 games in two seasons with the Carolina Panthers, including nine games this season. He was released on Nov. 25.
Gaulden was credited with 14 tackles (10 solo) and returned one punt for the Panthers. He was a 2018 third-round draft choice (85th overall) by Carolina, from the University of Tennessee.
Gaulden fills the practice squad spot that was left vacant when long-snapper Colin Holba joined the active roster on Saturday.
Photos from the career of two-time Super Bowl MVP quarterback Eli Manning