He reiterated “It’s an ACL injury” and said “I’ll approach the process that way and get it taken care of.” But potential additional damage is one more layer to monitor in the quarterback’s recovery from this devastating blow.
“It’s unfortunate, but I can’t afford to feel sorry for myself or sulk,” Jones, 26, said of his season-ending diagnosis. “It’s part of it, and I’ll be fine. I’ll bounce back, attack the rehab process like I have anything else and come back stronger.”
Jones still hasn’t decided when he’ll have surgery or which doctor he’ll pick to do it.
“From what I understand, kind of the process is to let the swelling go down and get the range of motion back and then go from there,” he said. “So, I’ll have surgery sometime in the next couple of weeks.”
In 2020, Saquon Barkley waited 40 days to have surgery so the swelling in a strained MCL could go down and he could strengthen his knee. Barkley fully tore his ACL and partially tore his meniscus that season. The full extent of Jones’ injury still isn’t clear.
True to form, however, Jones expressed more disappointment in the Giants’ lost season than with his neck and knee injuries in the first year of his new contract.
“To not get the results on the field is probably the most frustrating part of it all,” he said. “The injuries are part of it, but we’re here to win games.”
Jones couldn’t commit to being healthy for Week 1 of the 2024 season this early.
“The goal is to be ready and fully healthy as soon as possible,” he said. “When that exactly is, I’m not sure.”
He was asked about the chatter that the Giants may draft a quarterback to replace him in the spring, and he steered clear of speculation or any emotional reaction.
“In terms of my future and what I’m thinking about it, it’s that: it’s to attack this process and come back stronger and a better football player in the future,” he said. “I’m focused on what I’m doing right now and what I can control and what’s in front of me and that’s this rehab process, my knee, healing that up and then doing everything I can to help this team finish strong and play well.”
Jones wanted to make it crystal clear that he intends to stick around and help Tommy DeVito and the rest of the Giants quarterbacks succeed the rest of this season. He will not disappear.
He said he never expected to be in this position, though, even after he got hurt on the final play of Sunday’s first quarter in Las Vegas. Jones genuinely thought his knee was OK at first, which is why he came back out to start the second quarter.
“That play before the end of the first quarter, I just tried to make a cut, felt my knee kind of shift a little bit, kind of buckle in a different way,” Jones said. “I wasn’t exactly sure what it was, just knew it kind of felt different. And then I tried to jog on it, do some light cutting in between the quarters and it felt okay. So I went back out there.
“I got to the top of my drop, felt that same kind of shift and buckle in my leg, my knee kind of gave out a little bit there,” he added. “So I knew something was up at that point. I had to go in and get checked out.”
Jones said he doesn’t regret going back in the game, however, because “I don’t think I caused any more damage to the injury.” He believes he tore the ACL on the first play.
“I wasn’t sure what it was at first and thought it might have just been a different situation,” he said. “I thought I was fine, really. So no, I don’t think it was a mistake.”
Jones also said his cleat didn’t get caught in the grass on the Raiders’ field. It was just the way he cut and the position of his knee at that time.
As for Jones’ poor play prior to the injury, the Giants QB was asked if his throwing mechanics were different in Vegas due to his neck injury and he said, “No, I don’t think so.”
He also said “my neck’s good” after the three-game absence to recover prior to his fleeting return in Sin City.
But now he has to concentrate on his knee and on the long road ahead.
“I think it is somewhat of a long rehab process and that there are steps and marks you’ve got to hit,” he said. “It takes patience, takes a lot of time, takes discipline and kind of takes a daily focus and effort. You get out what you put into it.
“Luckily there have been a lot of guys who have gone through it and come back really well.”
Optimism is a good start to a difficult journey ahead for Jones.
NEAL ‘WEEK-TO-WEEK’ WITH ANKLE
Right tackle Evan Neal (ankle), corner Adoree Jackson (concussion), running back Deon Jackson (concussion), defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence (rest) and offensive lineman Sean Harlow (personal matter) did not practice Wednesday.
Neal is “week-to-week” and “not great,” Daboll said. In the coach’s language, that means he’ll be out awhile. Neal and Adoree Jackson weren’t on the outdoor fields at all. Deon Jackson at least was running on the side with injured reserve teammates Gary Brightwell and Matt Peart.
Four players were limited: left tackle Andrew Thomas (hamstring), wide receiver Parris Campbell (hamstring), running back Jashaun Corbin (hamstring) and edge Azeez Ojulari (ankle). Ojulari has been designated for return from injured reserve, and the Giants are targeting a return for the pass rusher on Sunday.