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Kenny Golladay hopes to return vs. Texans

KENNY-GOLLADAY

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – With just four games played, 99 snaps and two receptions, Kenny Golladay did not make anywhere near the impact he anticipated in the first half of the Giants' season. But beginning Sunday at home against the Houston Texans, the sixth-year wide receiver hopes to be a major contributor in the team's final nine games.

"Definitely," Golladay said Wednesday. "That's really my main goal, is to hit the ground running. I don't want to come in the game and act like I lost a step as far as playbook wise, like I'm not mentally prepared. Even when I wasn't playing, I was making sure I was mentally prepared the entire time as if I was playing. That's really my main goal, when I do get in there it's not like a fall off."

Golladay missed the final four games before the Giants' bye with a knee injury he suffered on Oct. 2 against Chicago. He has not caught a pass since late in the second quarter of the Giants' opener in Tennessee on Sept. 11, when he had his season total of two catches for 22 yards.

This week, Golladay is officially limited in practice. On Tuesday, coach Brian Daboll said Golladay, "should be ready to go" in the game. He was not as definitive on Wednesday.

"We'll just take it day-by-day, game-by-game, wherever is goes," Daboll said. "(He) showed some good stuff (in practice yesterday). Probably will keep him limited today, but he had enough reps to look at. I thought he did a good job coming back from what he's been through."

Golladay's role was reduced early in the season – he played just two snaps Week 2 vs. Carolina – but offensive coordinator Mike Kafka remains firmly in his corner.

"I think Kenny has done a good job," Kafka said. "Kenny came in and he's been a great teammate. He's come in and worked hard when he's been practicing. I know he's gotten a little dinged up, so he worked his tail off to get ready for this week. We're happy that he's available."

Given both his earlier play time and what will be a six-week break between games, it's unclear how much Golladay will play against Houston.

"I'm ready for whatever," Golladay said. "It really don't matter.

"I'm really not trying to prove anything to the coaches. Really, I'm just out here playing for my guys and these people in the locker room. Of course, I've got to show on the practice field to the coaches, but at the exact same time I'm playing for the guys in this locker room, period.

"I don't change my attitude. At the end of the day, I'm a competitor, I'm a winner. Even if I haven't been a part of a team that's 6-2, my mindset is still a dog mentality."

Golladay has not played on a team that finished with a winning record since his 2017 rookie season in Detroit and has never been on a playoff team. Now, he has an opportunity to contribute to a Giants team that is in the thick of the NFC postseason race.

"I've got a smile on my face," Golladay said. "It's just a lot of energy going around this facility and you can't beat that."

View photos from practice as the Giants prepare for their Week 10 matchup against the Houston Texans.

*Rookie tight end Daniel Bellinger said he has "no specific timeline" but he "absolutely" believes he will play again this season. Bellinger suffered a serious injury to his left eye in Jacksonville on Oct. 23. He underwent surgery to repair a fractured eye socket.

"Definitely confident I can play again this season," Bellinger said today in his first public comments since he was hurt. "Just getting out there running the last couple of days felt good. Really just kind of just getting this swelling to go down completely and once the eye is level with this eye, the vision will be even better."

Bellinger said he has "a little" double vision.

"The doctor said it was normal to have that, so it's just kind of waiting for that to heal up and wait for that to go away," he said.

Bellinger was hurt when the fist of a Jaguars player accidentally went through his facemask and connected with his eye. He began bleeding immediately.

"Incredibly scary," he said. "When it first happened, it kept getting really puffy and it was kind of numb around the eye, so I was afraid that it was the actual eye. I was afraid at first but once I got to the hospital and the doctor looked at the eye and said the actual eye was okay, I calmed down a little bit."

Bellinger was examined in a Jacksonville hospital and returned home with the team. He underwent surgery that week.

"They had to go in under the eye and put a plate in, just get the bone fixed up," he said. "And then they had to fix my septum as well."

Bellinger, a fourth-round draft choice from San Diego State, played in each of the first seven games, starting six. He caught 16 passes for 152 yards and two touchdowns and scored on a two-yard run against Green Bay.

Bellinger isn't certain when he will return to the field, but when he does it will likely be with a new piece of equipment.

"Eventually, I'm going to get a visor," he said. "And probably wear one for the rest of my career."

*Richie James lost two fumbles in Seattle in the Giants' most recent game. Special teams coordinator Thomas McGaughey said the problem was that James was not bare-armed.

"Probably the first thing he did wrong was wear sleeves, cotton sleeves," McGaughey said. "It was kind of cool out, probably wasn't the best decision and that's probably on me more than anything else to tell him to take them off. The second is he just took a shot. You've got to hang onto the ball. That's just football. Good fundamentals, good technique, keep the ball, double in trouble. When you get in traffic, you've got to cover the ball up."

McGaughey, who has coached special teams on the professional and collegiate levels for 21 years, said bad things can happen when returners wear sleeves.

"The ball will slip," he said. "Anytime you have a regular leather ball up against a smooth surface and it's not skin, that's something that you don't want. You don't ever want that. … That's why you rarely see running backs have sleeves on."

McGaughey, however, put the onus on himself and not James for the equipment miscue.

"It was my fault," he said. "I should've told him to take it off. I'm normally all over that. It was my fault. I slipped on that one."

Might the Giants use another player to return punts this week against Houston?

"We're going to let the week play out and see what happens," McGaughey said. "We've got a bunch of guys back there catching them. Obviously, you can't put the ball on the ground. We all know that. That's a no brainer. You know you can't turn the ball over and put it on the ground. So, we'll see what happens once we get towards the back end of the week."

*Bellinger (eye) and tackle Evan Neal (knee) continue to remain out of practice due to the injuries they sustained on Oct. 23 in Jacksonville.

In addition to Golladay, linebacker Oshane Ximines (quad) and cornerback Cor'Dale Flott (calf) were limited.

James, who suffered a concussion in Seattle, participated fully.

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