Giants likely to be without starting right tackle against Saints

New York Giants offensive tackle Evan Neal (73) blocks San Francisco 49ers defensive end Nick Bosa (97) during the fourth quarter at Levi's Stadium
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

New York Giants’ right tackle Evan Neal returned to practice this week but is likely to be listed as doubtful for Sunday’s game against the New Orleans Saints as he continues to nurse an ankle injury, according to Giants head coach Brian Daboll.

ESPN’s Jordan Raanan said Friday that this means that Tyre Phillips will likely get the start at right tackle once again if Neal has to sit out the contest.

Evan Neal has been unavailable to play for over a month

If Neal doesn’t play Sunday, it would be his fifth consecutive game missed and his seventh overall this season. However, this is the first time since Nov. 5 that he has been able to practice in any capacity, so he is heading in the right direction.

The 2022 seventh-overall pick has struggled mightily in his short NFL career. This season, he has allowed 30 pressures in the games he has played and has a Pro Football Focus (PFF) grade of 39.8.

Daboll would not commit to starting Neal upon his return

His struggles have been so paramount that Daboll would not say whether or not Neal would reclaim the starting right tackle spot once he is able to return, adding that Phillips has played well in the time he has played.

“We’ll cross that bridge when we get to it,” said Daboll via NJ.com

As the Giants look to make a playoff push that seemed nearly impossible just weeks ago, they may be better off riding the hot hand by continuing to give Phillips reps at right tackle and not force the struggling Neal back in.

Darren Waller is trending in the right direction

In other injury news, tight end Darren Waller (hamstring) was designated to return off the injured reserve earlier this week, though it is currently unclear if he will be available for the game against the Saints. Daboll indicated that he wants to wait until after Friday’s practice before making a decision on his availability for Sunday.

The Giants have been desperately waiting for Waller to return, as the recent surge of quarterback, Tommy DeVito could continue if he is able to get one of his top targets on the field with him at the same time. Waller his missed the last month with a hamstring injury that had been nagging him for most of the season.

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