EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Two weeks after their initial training camp practice, the Giants today announced for the first time this summer that injuries will sideline a potential starter. And to compound the issue, the injury bug struck not one, but two players.
Rookie safety Xavier McKinney has a fractured left foot and inside linebacker David Mayo has a torn meniscus in his left knee. Both injuries will be repaired surgically, McKinney today and Mayo tomorrow. They are the team's first front-line players forced off the field due to injury. Coach Joe Judge said he won't have a timetable for their return until after he receives a post-surgery report.
"Any injury to our roster is a hit to us because we care about every player on our roster," Judge said. "But it's our responsibility to have everyone developed and make sure the next man is ready to go."
McKinney underwent surgery performed by foot specialist Dr. Martin O'Malley this afternoon at the Hospital for Special Surgery in Manhattan.
A 6-foot, 201-pounder who was the 36th overall selection of the 2020 NFL Draft. McKinney was first-team All-SEC standout last season for the Crimson Tide and was competing to start alongside Jabrill Peppers at the back of the Giants' defense. McKinney's injury creates an opportunity for second-year pro Julian Love to claim that spot when the season opens.
"You don't want to see any player get hurt," Judge said. "It's a part of the game. Injuries do happen. These guys play a collision sport, there's a lot of wear and tear on their bodies. Xavier is a guy for us who's making a tremendous amount of improvement. Look, we're still looking forward to getting him back out there on the field. I'm not a doctor, I don't have that timetable. I'm going to let those guys handle that. My only concern at this point is that he continues to work as hard as he can to get back on the field, and that we continue to develop him as a coaching staff, mentally, that he makes progress within the situational awareness and overall understanding of our schemes and the league tendencies in his time off the field."
Mayo joined the Giants six days prior to 2019 season and played in all 16 games, including starts in each of the last 13 contests. He tied for second on the team with a career-best 80 tackles (50 solo), including his first two career sacks.
"Very much like Zay, we have to wait and see what the doctors say after they go in," Judge said. "I was told today by Ronnie (Barnes, the team's senior vice president for medical services) that he had been looking at his knee. There wasn't anything that we thought was an issue, I guess it flared up on him yesterday. Ronnie came into my office this morning and let me know where he's at. They are taking a look at him, they should have more news for me tomorrow and we will see where that's at. He's a guy that we respect a lot and we're counting on for a lot production this year. Get him healthy and back out there as soon as possible."
*The Giants today practiced in an empty MetLife Stadium – where they've held several walk-throughs during camp and which will be similarly empty when the season begins on Sept. 14 against the Pittsburgh Steelers. The no-contact workout was assignment-oriented; the players wore helmets and no pads.
On Friday, the Giants will hold a blue/white scrimmage in the stadium.
"This is really leading into our intrasquad game this Friday," Judge said. "But we wanted to take the time today to really let the guys get their legs back under them. Kind of have a good flow to our weeks right now for as far as how we're training their bodies. We kept on a normal pattern today as a Wednesday, give them a little bit of a down day for the team, which means we keep the same mental energy and focus within the situations."
Judge and his assistant coaches today wore headsets for the first time.
"We're building in opportunities to talk to each other on the headsets to start creating the communication we're going to have in a game situation," Judge said. "It's important for me to be able to go up to the offense and defense at different times and echoing what I'm looking for in a certain drive or a certain situation. Obviously, we had a lot of two-minute drives today. We had a four-minute drive simulated. At that point, we're talking to each other. 'Okay, how much time do we have left? How many timeouts? I'm looking to call timeout here.' Whatever the call may be, we're communicating the entire time.
"The exercise today was to really build the communication from the booth down to the field, from me to the coordinators to the position coaches, to make sure we just have a feel for talking to each other. That's something that we can't take for granted. If we had done this on a game day for the first day, we'd find out the hard way that there are certain levels of communication that we have to really practice as a coaching staff."
View photos of the Giants' active roster as it currently stands.