EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Daniel Jones' season officially ended Monday when the Giants placed the third-year quarterback on injured reserve. Jones has missed the last three games with a neck injury he suffered in a victory against Philadelphia on Nov. 28.
Wide receiver Sterling Shepard, who tore his Achilles tendon in the fourth quarter of yesterday's loss to Dallas, was also placed on injured reserve.
"Over the course of the past few weeks, Daniel has been examined by Dr. Frank Cammisa of Hospital for Special Surgery and Dr. Robert Watkins of the Marina Spine Center at Marina Del Rey Hospital," said Ronnie Barnes, the Giants' senior vice president of medical services. "Our medical team has continued to consult with Dr. Cammisa and Dr. Watkins regarding Daniel's condition and symptoms, and at this point, Daniel has not been cleared for contact. We felt the prudent decision was to place Daniel on injured reserve for the remainder of the season. With continued rest and treatment, we expect a full recovery."
"There have been a lot of discussions and conversations between the organization and the medical team concerning Daniel Jones and his return to play," coach Joe Judge said. "Over the last 24 hours, there has been a lot more conversation and based on the information from the medical team and their belief in a timetable for Daniels' full recovery, and their belief with rest and treatment that he'll return to full health, they deemed that the remainder of this season he should be shut down to give him that time to heal."
Judge continued to emphasize the team believes Jones' injury is not career threatening.
"I've been adamant in saying that with all the information we've been given from the doctors involved and the medical team that there is no, at this moment, concern for a long-term injury," Judge said. "This is more of a precautionary measure to make sure it's something that isn't aggravated or agitated before it's healed and it doesn't turn into something as chronic or long-term. … At this time, our concern is on Daniel's health. He's been doing a good job. He's out there moving very functionally, but ultimately this is about making sure that his neck has a full recovery before we put him out there before he's cleared for contact."
Judge called the injury a "sprained neck." Surgery is not currently under consideration.
"At this point, it's just rest," Judge said. "It's rest, it's treatment, it's continuing on with some of the rehab type of exercises he would do for it. This is really contact based. There's no surgery that's even being talked about or mentioned at this point. Surgery is not an option at this point. There's nothing that would lead us to believe that he would need surgery for this. It's purely a timetable deal as far as this injury. Again, the medical team has been monitoring how the neck has progressed over the last few weeks. They didn't think they saw enough progress to clear him for contact and with the time remaining in the season, they didn't believe it was going to be the smartest move to put him out there. They didn't think he would be fully healed within that timetable and the best thing for him right now is to start on having a full recovery with rest and treatment."
The Giants believe that when Jones returns to the field next season, he will not be at risk of having a recurrence or suffering a setback related to his current injury.
"That is the conversation we had this morning at length and we've had over the course of the past few weeks," Judge said. "That's a question I specifically asked repeatedly to make sure and from what I was told, that is the case that this would not be an issue going forward if we give this time now to heal fully. This would not be something we have to worry about in the future at all. That's what I was told."
Jones was inactive for the Giants' last three games after starting the first 11. He completed 232 of 361 passes (a career-high 64.3%) for 2,428 yards, 10 touchdowns, and seven interceptions for a passer rating of 84.8. Jones also rushed for 298 yards and two touchdowns.
His best performance was on Oct. 3, when he led the Giants from an 11-point deficit with seven minutes remaining in the fourth quarter to a 27-21 overtime triumph in New Orleans.
Jones was named NFC Offensive Player of the Week after completing 28 of 40 passes for a career-high 402 yards, two touchdowns, and one interception for a passer rating of 108.5. Jones' 28 completions tied the career-high he had set three times previously — and which he topped with 29 the following week against the Rams — and he hit 70% of his passes, then the third-highest figure of his career.
The Giants scored 17 unanswered points on their final three possessions as Jones completed 11 of 15 passes for 176 yards, including a 54-yard touchdown pass to Saquon Barkley and a 23-yard, third-down throw to Kenny Golladay immediately preceding Barkley's game-winning six-yard touchdown run in overtime.
His final game was the Giants' most recent victory, a 13-7 triumph against the Eagles in which he completed 19 of 30 passes for 202 yards, including a one-yard touchdown to tight end Chris Myarick.
"He's been chomping at the bit, doing his best to get out there and do everything that's been asked of him," Judge said. "This is a decision that's out of the hands of a player, out of the hands of the coaching staff. This is a medical decision and we're not going to put anybody on the field who's at risk of injury. Daniel, in this case, they believe would be in that category, so we're not going to do something that puts him at risk."
Judge did not announce whether Mike Glennon or Jake Fromm will start Sunday's rematch against the Eagles in Philadelphia. The Giants' final two games will be in Chicago and at home vs. Washington. Glennon started the previous three games, losses to the Dolphins, Chargers and Cowboys. Fromm made his NFL debut in the final series in yesterday's game against Dallas.
"We're going to look at Mike and Jake throughout this week," Judge said. "We'll watch Jake practice and we'll make the decision going into the game."
Fromm completed six of 12 passes for 82 yards and led the Giants from their seven-yard line to the Dallas nine. But the drive ended with four consecutive incompletions and no points.
"Jake did enough to be in consideration," Judge said. "We'll see how practice goes. Obviously, there's a big difference between starting an entire NFL game and coming in at the end of the game when the team is playing more of a two-minute prevent mode. That's not a knock on Jake, it's just the reality and the truth. We'll get Mike and Jake ready for this week and we'll make the determination of who's going to start at a later time."
*The Giants filled the two spots on the roster by signing linebacker Jaylon Smith and cornerback Jarren Williams.
Smith — signed to the practice squad Friday and the roster Saturday — played 17 snaps and was credited with four tackles (three solo) in his Giants debut yesterday.
"Jaylon … had about four to six hours of coaching to get him ready for the game and a walk-through with the defense," Judge said. "I really liked the way this guy responded, and he's been a pleasure to coach in the short window we've had. He went out there, he played fast, he's able to go ahead and get his hat on a few people to make some plays."
Williams made his first NFL start and played all but one snap because cornerbacks Adoree' Jackson and Aaron Robinson are on the Reserve/COVID-19 list. He finished with five tackles (four solo) and a pass defensed.
"Jarren's a guy that's been doing a decent job for us playing defense, some roles in the kicking game," Judge said. "I think he's a guy that's got a future that we can go ahead and keep on developing with. I like the way Jarren works, and I think there's some upside with him as a player. He definitely has the right attitude as a person."
*The Giants placed another cornerback, Keion Crossen, on the COVID-19 reserve list. He joins wide receivers Kadarius Toney and John Ross, linebackers Cam Brown and Oshane Ximines, safeties Xavier McKinney and J.R. Reed, Jackson, Robinson, and practice squad corner Natrell Jamerson on the list.
"Not having Keion, obviously that's a player we want to have for his roles in the kicking game and also on defense for depth," Judge said. "The guys who are available to us, we'll know more through tomorrow and we'll plan accordingly. There's an opportunity for some guys to come off the COVID list before the game and we'll see what that's going to entail in terms of the ramp-up period and whether or not they'll be available. They'll have a realistic chance to go out there and play for us, we'll get everyone prepared whether it's in person or through zoom, make sure we monitor everybody's health, make sure number one that they're healthy and number two, when we put them on the field, we can assure thing, go out there and make them function, operate and be safe."
View all the action from the Week 15 NFC East matchup between the Giants and Cowboys at MetLife Stadium.