In his mailbag column on NJ.com yesterday, reporter Jordan Raanan answered a fan's query about starting New York Giants tight-end Larry Donnell's recovery process. It's not uncommon for beat-reporters to have a recurring mailbag column, our own Ed Valentine has one of his own, but what is rare is for new information to emerge in these articles.
@JordanRaanan Does J. Cunningham have more value than Robinson b/c of special teams play? Is Donnell out of the walking boot?— Joe (@jcs02008) July 24, 2015
In response to this, Raanan offered up some newsworthy comments which made the rounds after he published what many thought was a simple Q & A piece.
"OK, so we're talking about the Giants tight end position here. The good news is that Donnell is out of the walking boot and has been training down in Alabama. My understanding is he's expected to participate in training camp practices this week."
What this means is that when the team opens training camp this week, they'll have a relatively full offense ready to go out of the gate. Outside of left-tackle Will Beatty, who injured his pectoral muscle earlier this off-season, the Giants are in good shape.
However, Raanan is quick to point out that this doesn't necessarily mean Donnell is out of the woods just yet.
"I'm still somewhat concerned about the Achilles problem he had in the spring. It's an old college injury that resurfaced. That means it has never really gone away, and may pop up again. Hopefully (fingers crossed) it doesn't finally reach the point where it gives out."
This particular injury is one that lingers and requires self-restraint. The Mayo Clinic suggests that those wishing to manage such a condition should increase their exercise levels slowly, building intensity over a period of time to ensure a gradual conditioning of the muscle. While Donnell may think he's ready for camp this week, it wouldn't be a huge surprise if he spends the first week or so doing light individual work and drills.
Thankfully, the Giants are in a position where they don't have to rush him back into the line-up. This is the second camp under offensive co-ordinator Ben McAdoo and Donnell enjoyed somewhat of a breakout season last year, so he appears to be well-set to simply step back into the starting line-up when fully healed.
In the meantime, New York have a bunch of young guns waiting in the wings for a chance to shine. Currently, the team has five tight-ends behind Donnell on the depth chart with nowhere near enough snaps to go around. A slow return for Donnell may be a blessing in disguise as it gives the team some extra looks at veteran options Adrian Robinson and Daniel Fells as well as seeing what they have in their slew of undrafted rookies, Jerome Cunningham, Matt LaCosse and Will Tye.