The New York Giants may have lost starting outside linebacker and defensive end Olivier Vernon for the start of the season.
Or they may not have.
Vernon suffered an ankle injury in practice Sunday afternoon when his feet got tangled with a blocker’s during a team drill. He was quickly carted off the field and after practice head coach Pat Shurmur confirmed that Vernon did indeed suffer an ankle injury, but the team’s medical staff was still “evaluating” the injury.
Monday morning we received mixed messaged from insiders regarding the severity of Vernon’s injury and the potential timeline of his recovery.
At the more severe end is ESPN’s Dianna Russini, who reported a high ankle sprain.
Giants outside linebacker Olivier Vernon suffered a high ankle sprain per sources.— Dianna Russini (@diannaESPN) August 27, 2018
On the other hand, the NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport is reporting that Vernon suffered “just a sprained ankle.”
More on Olivier Vernon: The key part of the injury is a deep bruise high up on his ankle. This will keep Vernon off his feet. But a timeline isn’t clear until the team sees how he responds in the next day or so. X-Rays, of course, were negative. https://t.co/uiRPCGn0OB— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) August 27, 2018
UPDATE: Dan Duggan of The Athletic is echoing Rapoport’s report that what first appeared to be a high ankle sprain now appears to be a more routine low ankle sprain and a deep bruise.
Some clarity on Vernon's injury: I'm told that it looked a high ankle sprain at first glance, but it's actually a deep bruise on the upper part of his ankle. How that impacts his timetable to return is TBD.— Dan Duggan (@DDuggan21) August 27, 2018
The question at this point will be whether Vernon is able to get healthy for the Giants’ week 1 game against the Jacksonville Jaguars or if he will miss most of the first month of the season, which will also see the Giants face off against the Dallas Cowboys, Houston Texans, and New Orleans Saints.
Regardless of how long Vernon is out, his injury is a blow to a defense marred by questions.
Since Jason Pierre-Paul was traded to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Vernon has been the Giants’ only proven pass rusher off the edge. Without Vernon on the field, the defense will have to look to unproven options to pick up the slack, such as:
- Defensive lineman Kerry Wynn ( who has been a force in the preseason)
- Romeo Okwara (who has yet to match his first impression against the Cowboys in 2016, but was the first player off the bench when Vernon was injured)
- Second year edge rusher Avery Moss (who flashed brightly before injury in 2017 and has flashed in the preseason)
- Rookie EDGE Lorenzo Carter (who is long and hyper-athletic, but raw in his technique
We will bring you new updates and developments as we get them, so stay tuned to Big Blue View