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Joe Judge: Xavier McKinney “on track” in recovery from fractured foot

Giants coach won’t commit to rookie being ready for Sunday, but it’s trending that way

Xavier McKinney at practice earlier this week.
Matthew Swensen [Giants.com]

The New York Giants could have second-round pick Xavier McKinney on the active roster for the first time this season on Sunday when they face the Cincinnati Bengals.

McKinney, a safety, has out all season after suffering a fractured foot. He has been practicing this week. Coach Joe Judge said on Friday that he has been “encouraged the way he’s moving around,” but won’t ultimately make a decision on activating him until after Friday afternoon’s practice.

“I’d say everything’s been on track with him,” Judge said. “Today’s going to be a big day for him.”

Linebacker Tae Crowder, also practicing this week to return from IR, is another player who could be activated Sunday. Judge did not mention edge defender Oshane Ximines, so his status is unknown.

McKinney said it was “really tough” when he initially fractured his foot. The rookie from Alabama said he had been experiencing soreness for a while before the foot finally fractured during a practice session.

McKinney has been in meetings all season.

“It’s been great to be back out there on the field,” McKinney said. “I’ve been waiting for this moment. I’ve been really excited for it.”

Graham Gano on track to return

The Giants’ placekicker is on the Reserve/COVID-19 list, but indications are that Gano could be on track to be activated on Sunday.

Judge said that Gano was with Giants trainers on Thursday and was expected at practice Friday.

“I’ve gotta watch and see how sore he may or may not be,” Judge said. “He wasn’t really backing up too far in that hotel room to test his range.

“Very optimistic about his chance this weekend.”

If Gano can kick, he will likely take Ryan Santoso’s roster spot.

The remaining three players the Giants have on the Reserve/COVID-19 list — offensive tackle Matt Peart, wide receiver Dante Pettis and tight end Kaden Smith — will not play Sunday. Judge said he is uncertain who the third tackle will be Sunday. Options include Jackson Barton, Chad Slade, Kyle Murphy and Kenny Wiggins.

On using Ring of Honor jerseys Wednesday at practice

Judge said having players understand the history of the organization was “personally important to him.

“To me, the history of this organization is very important. It’s very important for all of our players coming in to understand that this team’s been here a lot longer than they’ve been around and it’s up to us to understand the history of this organization,” who come before us.”

Judge credited assistant GM Kevin Abrams with the idea of using the Ring of Honor jerseys for scout team players of the week.

James Bradberry “should play”

Giants veteran cornerback James Bradberry missed on-field work Wednesday and Thursday to deal with an unspecified personal situation. Judge said Bradberry was expected at Friday’s practice and should be available Sunday against the Bengals.

“All signs indicate that he should play for us,” Judge said.

Judge said Bradberry has been participating in Zoom meetings.

Business as usual on offensive line

Judge was asked how players have responded to new offensive line coach Dave DeGuglielmo, who took over this week for the fired Marc Colombo.

“No different than any other week,” Judge said. “These guys have come to work every week, they’ve worked hard, been very resilient. Right now the focus is on the Bengals ... they’ve had a good week of practice.”

Injury report

The only Giant of note on the injury report is cornerback Brandon Williams, who is questionable with an ankle injury.

For the Bengals, wide receiver Mike Thomas is doubtful with a hamstring injury and cornerback Mackensie Alexander (hamstring), linebacker Markus Bailey (hamstring) and running back Gio Bernard (concussion) are all questionable.