The New York Giants have been without one of their best defenders for the entire second half of the season. During the Giants’ Week 9 bye, safety Xavier McKinney suffered a broken hand, placing him on the Non-Football Injury list. The Giants’ defense has not been the same without its captain. Big Blue has been waiting patiently for McKinney’s return which could come sooner than expected. McKinney could be activated off the NFI for Sunday’s matchup against the Colts.
Xavier McKinney expected to play in Week 17
According to Jordan Raanan of ESPN, Xaiver McKinney’s return to the field has been signed off by the medical team. The safety then took first-team reps in practice, indicating that head coach Brian Daboll could be ramping him up to return this week. Now, it has been confirmed that the Giants will be activating McKinney and the star safety is expected to return in Week 17 (Jordan Raanan).
Earlier this week, Daboll said that McKinney would “probably not” return on Sunday. However, plans have seemingly changed after the medical team cleared McKinney to return.
McKinney was named one of the captains of the Giants’ defense this season after totaling five interceptions in 2021. Prior to his injury this season, Xavier McKinney started eight games for the Giants, totaling 38 combined tackles, two tackles for loss, four passes defended, and one sack. McKinney was also the defense’s play-caller, wearing the green dot on his helmet. That duty had been passed to Julian Love upon McKinney’s absence from the lineup.
Xavier McKinney is a dynamic defensive playmaker for the Giants. He has the ability to make an impact in run defense but is also a rangy ballhawk on the back end. Big Blue’s secondary has been torn to shreds without McKinney and Adoree’ Jackson (the Giants’ starting cornerback who is also out with an injury) in the lineup.
A win in Week 17 would mean the Giants clinch their first postseason berth since 2016. Xavier McKinney is one of the team’s most valuable players. With him in the lineup, the New York Giants have an even great chance of beating the Indianapolis Colts and earning their spot in the 2023 playoffs.