EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – The professional sports world isn't as immunized against COVID-19 as it hoped to be by now, and the NFL and the Giants are no exceptions.
On Monday, a record 37 players landed on the league's COVID reserve list. According to ESPN, that was followed by 29 more today, all but one due to positive tests. Seven teams are currently operating under enhanced COVID protocols, including the Los Angeles Rams, who earned a big victory in Arizona Monday night but have since closed their headquarters after 13 players were placed on the COVID list. In Cleveland, which hosts Las Vegas Saturday, both coach Kevin Stefanski and quarterback Baker Mayfield have tested positive.
Five Giants players have tested positive since Monday: wide receivers Kadarius Toney and John Ross, linebackers Cam Brown and Oshane Ximines, and cornerback Aaron Robinson. In addition, safety Xavier McKinney is a high-risk close contact. All six players have been placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list.
Ross, Robinson, Brown, and McKinney played Sunday in Los Angeles against the Chargers. Toney and Ximines were inactive.
Coach Joe Judge would not disclose which of the players are vaccinated. Players who test positive after receiving a vaccination can return to the team after two consecutive negative tests at least 24 hours apart.
As a close contact, if McKinney continues to test negative, he will be allowed to return to the Giants facility on Saturday and would be able to play on Sunday against the Dallas Cowboys in MetLife Stadium.
All the affected players are participating in meetings remotely.
Judge said the Giants are considering holding all meetings remotely, a common practice during the 2020 season.
"We've had a couple of things pop internally ourselves today," Judge said. "All the players are in masks; they're all spaced out. We're making sure that everybody is completely aired out. We're in the bubble behind you where there's more air. We'll make sure that we're safe throughout the remainder of the day. Anyone who's been involved in any kind of a close contact or test at this point has either been removed or separated from the team and they're in virtual meetings. We'll talk as a staff and I'll talk with the captains today about the remainder of the week of handling meetings partially virtual and then getting the guys over here to practice. We've done that in the past and it has worked smoothly."
Mike Glennon, who will start at quarterback against Dallas, said virtual meetings shouldn't affect the team's preparation.
"Meetings aren't as big of a deal, I think we learned that last year," he said. "You can get away with doing the meetings virtually. It's really the practice time where – if we could do virtual meetings at home and come in and practice, then obviously our routines will be a little thrown off, but that's not as big of a deal now. I don't even know what they were discussing, this is kind of news to me, but if practice were to be canceled obviously that would be a bigger deal, to not be able to go out and practice."
*The Giants had positive news as well as positive tests. Offensive lineman Wes Martin and quarterbacks coach Jerry Schuplinski, who tested positive last week when the team was in Tucson, Ariz., rejoined the team Wednesday.
"(They) are on a plane as we speak, flying back here," Judge said at his late-morning news conference. "We expect Wes to be back here this afternoon and get on the field with the trainers, start his ramp up, and Jerry to be in the meetings and out for the walkthrough this afternoon with the players."
*Quarterback Daniel Jones will miss his third consecutive game Sunday because of the neck injury he suffered on Nov. 28 against Philadelphia. Jones was examined again on Monday in New York.
"Really status quo right now," Judge said. "Still hasn't been cleared for contact. Talked to the doctors. I don't have an immediate answer in terms of when that will change. He's going to continue to practice with us, stay on the field, work on his conditioning. He's in the training room, he's in the meetings with all his teammates, but there's no change of status right now.
"When they feel he's good for contact, then they'll clear him."
Glennon, who played in Miami and Los Angeles, will start for the first time in front of a Giants home crowd. Judge did not rule out the possibility of Jake Fromm making his NFL debut against the Cowboys.
"Mike is going to start the game for us," Judge said. "This isn't being coy or anything. Every player who's at the game can play and we have plans for every player within a role of what they would do. Do we have anything bracketed out at this point in terms of is (Jake) going to play certain plays or anything? We do not. We do not, so we're getting Mike ready to play the game, but Jake will also be getting ready and preparing to play the game."
*Defensive lineman Leonard Williams has a chance to retain his distinction of never missing a game due to injury. Williams left the game against the Chargers in the first half with what has since been diagnosed as a triceps injury. After initial concern the injury was serious, Williams was on the field for the team's two walk-throughs on Wednesday.
"We'll see how he progresses throughout the week," Judge said. "We expect him to be practicing with us and we'll see how he progresses into the game."
*Because they held walk-throughs, the injury report issued by the Giants was a projection of the players' participation.
Those listed as did not participate: running back Saquon Barkley (ankle), cornerback Adoree' Jackson (quad), kicker Graham Gano (illness), defensive lineman Austin Johnson (foot), and offensive lineman Ben Bredeson (ankle).
Players who participated on a limited basis were tackle Andrew Thomas (ankle), Jones and Williams.