EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Daniel Jones moved closer to taking his familiar place in the starting lineup on Sunday when the Giants host the Los Angeles Rams in MetLife Stadium.
The Giants' third-year quarterback practiced Thursday on a limited basis, a day after he was listed as a non-participant. Though Jones must still complete the remaining steps in the NFL concussion protocol, including clearance by an independent neurological consultant, he is on track to face the 4-1 Rams.
"I'd say at this point, everything looks positive," coach Joe Judge said.
Jones was limited because he is prohibited by the protocols from having contact in practice.
"For him, it's really always non-contact, anyway," Judge said. "Obviously, we'll make a point of the certain drills he'll partake in, but he's good to go today, in terms of what he's allowed to do non-contact."
Judge, however, hedged when asked if he "thinks (Jones) is going to start."
"I can't give you a guess right there," Judge said. "Look, the one thing about these injuries is it's fully out of our hands. This isn't like some kind of soft tissue or a joint issue where the coaching staff and medical staff can talk and make an assessment on gameday. This is independent doctors; it's got nothing to do with us."
The NFL concussion protocol includes five steps.
"He's got a couple still more," Judge said, "a contact practice, a passed test by independent doctors, and things of that nature."
Jones is not permitted to speak to the media while he is in the protocol.
Jones was hurt in the second quarter last week in Dallas when he ran to his left near the Cowboys goal line and his helmet collided with that of Dallas linebacker Jabril Cox. He was carted off the field and the Giants soon announced that Jones had suffered a concussion and would not return to the game.
In addition to his throwing prowess, Jones is the Giants' leading rusher with 197 yards, a 6.6-yard average on 30 carries with two touchdowns. The Giants will not reduce his workload or alter his responsibilities when he returns.
"I think the biggest thing is we would never put a player back out there if he wasn't healthy enough to play," offensive coordinator Jason Garrett said. "Certainly, in a situation with a concussion, we certainly wouldn't do that. As an organization, as a coaching staff, we care too much about these guys to put them in a situation where they weren't right.
"If he's back and ready to go, we're going to play football. We're going to ask him to do what we need to do. You don't want to constantly put your quarterback in harm's way. We have other guys who can make plays for us, but D.J. running the ball has been a positive thing for us, so we'll try to find what that balance is."
Garrett chose not to provide much detail on Jones' last play in Dallas, but he pointed out, as Judge has done, that the quarterback must use discretion whenever he runs.
"I think it's important to understand that obviously sliding is important for quarterbacks," Garrett said. "But when you're in a situation like that when you're right down by the goal line, you're probably not going to slide and give yourself up unless you have no chance. He thought he had an opportunity to score. He's proven that he can be a tough, competitive player and make some of those plays for us. Again, unfortunately, that didn't work out for us."
View photos from Thursday's practice as the Giants prepare for their Week 6 matchup against the Los Angeles Rams.
*Wide receivers Sterling Shepard and Darius Slayton each suffered a right hamstring injury in the first half of the Giants' game against Atlanta on Sept. 26. Each missed the last two games. On Sunday, they may return to action together.
Shepard told reporters he will play. Both Slayton and he have been limited in practice this week.
"Both guys are out here moving around with us," Judge said. "I'd say both guys had good weeks last week. We were optimistic we'd have a chance to have them last game, that's why we didn't rule anything out early last week. I'd say we're still optimistic this week. Yesterday was a shorter practice. We got everyone moving around. We'll see them over the duration today over a regular practice and see how they hold up, but I'd say we're optimistic that they're in the right direction."
*Rookie wide receiver Kadarius Toney was ejected from the game last week in Dallas after punching safety Damontae Kazee. In the NFL, that's an open invitation for opposing players to try to goad Toney into further infractions.
"I've already had that conversation with him," Judge said. "I think he understands that very clearly."
*Three players did not practice Thursday: running back Saquon Barkley (ankle), wide receiver Kenny Golladay (knee) and cornerback Rodarius Williams (knee, out for the season).
In addition to Jones, 10 players were limited, including linebacker Justin Hilliard (ankle), the only newcomer to the injury report. Jones and offensive linemen Andrew Thomas (foot) and Matt Skura (knee) moved from did not practice to limited. The remainder of the list included safeties Jabrill Peppers (hamstring), Logan Ryan (hip) and Nate Ebner (quad), offensive lineman Ben Bredeson (hand), and Shepard, Slayton and Toney (ankle).
View rare photos of the history between the New York Giants and Los Angeles Rams.