The Giants were holding their breath and crossing their fingers that Daniel Jones’ hamstring injury wouldn’t turn out to be bad. But they also seemed to be bracing for the possibility that Jones would miss the Giants' game on Sunday night in Seattle, at least.
The truth, though, was that they just weren’t sure, which is why the MRI and examination that Jones is scheduled to undergo on Monday at the Hospital for Special Surgery in Manhattan is so important. There was “definitely concern” after the Giants quarterback injured his right hamstring during the 19-17 win in Cincinnati, according to a team source, and an initial belief that he’d probably miss their next game.
But several sources cautioned that it was impossible to truly know anything until the MRI and exam, and until they can see how Jones feels early in the week.
What the Giants did know was this: After Jones initially pulled his hamstring in the third quarter, doctors and trainers on the sidelines believed it was a “mild” strain, according to a source. That’s why he was cleared to go back into the game.
Once he was in the game, though, it was immediately clear he couldn’t put enough pressure on the leg to plant and throw the ball, and he certainly wouldn’t be able to run. Not wanting to make it any worse, he came out of the game for good.
“Didn’t feel like I could get a lot on it really or do what I needed to do to be effective and move the ball and throw it accurately,” Jones said after the game. “Just how I was throwing the ball, planting, pushing off of it and trying to see what I can do and how I could move -- that was what I was looking for. And didn’t think I was in great shape to do that at that point.”
Hamstrings tend to be tricky injuries and depending on the severity the recovery time can be anywhere from a few days to a few weeks – longer if there is a tear, though the Giants did not seem overly concerned about that possibility on Sunday night.
What seemed to concern them most was that hamstring injuries tend to linger, which could be a problem for a mobile quarterback like Jones. So much of his effectiveness is based on his ability to run and create plays out of the pocket. He could be far less effective if that was taken away.
The recovery from hamstring injuries is also rarely a straight line. There are often setbacks as players begin to feel healthier and start pushing to run faster. Obviously the Giants don’t want that to happen with Jones, especially with only five weeks remaining in the season.
That’s why, even if the Giants get good news on Monday morning, they could choose to be overly cautious and start Colt McCoy in Seattle. The game against the NFC West-leading Seahawks (7-3) is likely the most difficult game remaining on the Giants' schedule. It makes some sense to give him an extra week to get healthy, so he can return for the next two, more winnable games at home against the Arizona Cardinals (6-5) and Cleveland Browns (8-3).