Eli Manning’s cleaner goodbye comes with Daniel Jones agony

New York Post Sports 1 week ago

He didn’t find solace in the possible growth to come out of seeing the game from a different perspective.

Or in the idea he should prematurely end his rookie season to avoid further injury.

Daniel Jones wants to play — every game in another lost season for the Giants (2-10) still is an opportunity to make improvements — and is frustrated his injury means it is “very likely” Eli Manning will start in his place at quarterback Monday against the Eagles. Jones’ right foot was in a boot and he didn’t practice Wednesday.

“It’s pretty disappointing, especially after thinking I was going to be able to play,” Jones said. “Meanwhile, I understand it, I guess, and hopefully it’ll heal up pretty quick.”

Jones was hurt at the end of a run in the second quarter Sunday against the Packers but still played every snap, running his streak to 668 straight since taking over for Manning in Week 3. He said Monday he expected to fully practice and not miss any games, but that prognosis changed Tuesday after greater soreness prompted an MRI exam.

“I knew something was wrong, but I didn’t know if it would keep me from playing or not,” Jones said. “I felt it, but it was all right, something I could manage.”

Given the typical 4-8 week timetable for a high ankle sprain — Saquon Barkley missed three games — and the Giants’ position as losers of eight straight, there is no sense in rushing back Jones. He is not planning to seek a second doctor’s opinion, and Shurmur said surgery is not needed.

So, Jones’ first consecutive-starts streak will end at 10 and make all the more amazing that Manning never has missed a game due to injury during a 16-year career on the verge of start No. 233. Jones believes he has a “good” chance of returning at some point in the final four games, and Shurmur is not entertaining a season-ending shutdown.

“I think Daniel wants to play, I think he’s going to do everything possible to get back and rehab,” Manning said. “He’s a young kid, so I’m sure he’ll bounce back quickly. I’m sure the staff and everybody, they don’t want to take something that can be somewhat minor and turn it into something that’s a bigger deal down the line.”

Jones has completed 61.6 percent of his passes for 2,374 yards and 18 touchdowns with 11 interceptions. His biggest issue has been fumbles, with an NFL-high 15 (10 lost).

“I think he made tremendous progress,” said Shurmur, whose job security is tied to Jones’ development. “He has a very, very bright future. There are certainly things and areas that he needs to improve. But he displayed an ability to stand in there tough, make good throws, he got us in the end zone. Some of the mistakes he made, he’ll clean up as time goes on.”

The move to Manning allows the two-time Super Bowl champion a cleaner goodbye than when he was blindsided by his benching, or being forced into some ceremonial season-finale game situation. Maybe it will put more fans into an empty MetLife Stadium for the Week 15 and Week 17 home games.

Jets quarterback Sam Darnold missed three games as a rookie and returned for his best four-game stretch, crediting the perspective gained from the sideline. Jones sounded unconvinced of the positives to interrupting his on-field rhythm and said he played through a high ankle sprain last season at Duke.

In fact, conspiracy theorists could point to Jones’ history of warrior-like availability — playing basketball through a broken wrist in high school, taking a beating behind a bad offensive line in high school and missing just two football games with a broken collarbone as a college junior — and wonder if the Giants are being too cautious.

“I’m confident I’ll heal pretty quickly,” Jones said, “and be back out there soon.”

For more on the Giants, listen to the latest episode of the “Blue Rush” podcast:


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