There is a chance the Giants will turn to Nick Gates as their starting center for Thursday’s game against the Cowboys at AT&T Stadium. If that is the case, an already-stirring comeback story moves to another level.
Jon Feliciano was forced out of Sunday’s 31-18 loss to the Lions with a neck issue. He said he believed he would be able to play four days later, but he was projected as a nonparticipant in Monday’s practice, with the Giants holding a walk-through.
Gates filled in and played the final 25 snaps at center, his first work on the offensive line since returning from the serious fractured leg that required seven surgeries to fix. Gates played a total of 18 snaps in the previous two games as an extra blocker. His next snap could be as a starter.
“I’m fine with that. I’ve got about 20 starts at center, so I feel comfortable getting in there and doing it,” Gates said. “It’s almost like riding a bike, I feel like.”
Gates was injured in Week 2 in 2021, and it has been a long road back. He said he came out of the extended action in the second half against the Lions in good shape.
“That was the first time I played offensive line snaps since I got back from being hurt,” Gates said. “It was good. Definitely the conditioning, you can run all you want, you can do half-gassers after the practice and stuff, but until you’re in the middle of the game and you’re going almost 10- to 15-play drives, it’s a little different. Your conditioning, got to get back up to that.”
The Giants will not hold a full-scale practice all week leading up to Thursday’s game. They did have a walk-through on Monday, and the projection was that seven players would not have participated in a full practice: TE Daniel Bellinger (eye), G Josh Ezeudu (neck), Feliciano (neck), CB Adoree’ Jackson (knee), WR Richie James (knee), CB Fabian Moreau (oblique) and OL Tyre Phillips (neck). Two players were projected as limited: T Evan Neal (knee) and S Jason Pinnock (jaw).
OLB Azeez Ojulari (calf) is eligible to come off injured reserve for this game but there have been no signs he is ready to return. Coach Brian Daboll was noncommittal on Ojulari, Bellinger and Neal’s availability to face the Cowboys.
“I’d say they’re coming along,’’ Daboll said. “I think they’re improving. Whether or not they’ll be ready this week, too early to give you an answer to that.’’
For the second time this season, the Giants failed to get a sack or force a turnover. They are 0-2 in such games, losing to the Cowboys and Lions. … The more Daniel Jones throws, the more the Giants lose. His 44 passing attempts against the Lions were the third-highest total of his career. He had 51 pass attempts last season vs. the Rams, and lost. He had 47 throws against the Eagles late in the 2019 season, and lost.