Sports

Giants’ Jones clears protocol, likely to face Rams

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones cleared the concussion protocol and is expected to start Sunday against the Los Angeles Rams.

Jones was not given an official designation on the final injury report Friday after receiving clearance from an independent neurologist.

Giants running back Saquon Barkley (ankle) and wide receiver Kenny Golladay (knee) were ruled out Friday after not practicing all week. A source previously told ESPN that it would be a “couple weeks” for New York’s top playmakers to return.

The news was more positive for Giants wide receivers Sterling Shepard (hamstring) and safety Jabrill Peppers (hamstring), who were not on the final injury report and will play Sunday after missing the previous two games. Wide receivers Darius Slayton (hamstring) and Kadarius Toney (ankle), left tackle Andrew Thomas (foot) and guard Ben Bredeson (hand) are all questionable to face the Rams. Toney was moving well all week and is expected to play.

Jones sustained the concussion just before halftime of Sunday’s 44-20 loss to the Dallas Cowboys. He stumbled on his feet after taking a helmet-to-helmet hit as he tried to get into the end zone.

But Jones was up and in good spirits after the game. He worked on a side field Wednesday before being listed as a limited participant for Thursday’s practice. He faced simulated contact Friday.

With Jones cleared, the decision about whether he can play seems finalized.

“I think you’ve got to make a clear distinction of what everybody’s job is and what their role is in the team. The doctors, the medical staff — they have a very clear job in terms of getting our players healthy and determining their health and availability for the game,” Giants coach Joe Judge said. “If I get involved one way or the other with an emotional decision, that’s not always going to be the right decision. It may be a situation where I know we really need a player and I want to get him on the field, but medically, that may not be the right decision. It may be a situation where I think maybe this guy is not ready to play, but if I’ve got every expert and doctor and trainer saying, ‘This guy’s fully cleared to play, Joe. He’s not at risk of getting hurt again. He’s fine.’ I’ve got to trust those opinions. I know that I’m not a doctor. I know I’ve got to trust the opinion of the guys that have done a lot more education and research and practice in that field.”

The Giants (1-4) have been planning as if Jones would play, with Judge saying he was “on track” throughout the week.

Mike Glennon, who replaced Jones in the second quarter Sunday, took some first-team reps this week in case of a setback. He’s an option if the Giants don’t think it’s safe for Jones to return so quickly.

“I definitely think we love Daniel. We want Daniel to play. We know he wants to play. So obviously we want him out there with us as our brother, but also want the best for him,” Slayton told ESPN on Friday. “If he’s not right, last thing we want to do is send him out there to get hurt further.”

Jones, 24, has four touchdown passes and one interception this season. He’s 10th in the NFL with a QBR of 61.2.

The third-year quarterback has also done damage with his legs on the zone-read, and it has become a major part of the Giants’ offense. Jones has 197 yards rushing and two touchdowns on 30 carries.

And it doesn’t appear the team will be shy about calling the zone-read Sunday with Jones cleared, even if he was concussed on a quarterback run.

“If he’s back and ready to go, we’re going to play football,” offensive coordinator Jason Garrett said earlier in the week. “We’re going to ask him to do what we need to do. Again, we talked about it earlier, you don’t want to constantly put your quarterback in harm’s way. We have other guys who can make plays for us, but DJ running the ball has been a positive thing for us, so we’ll try to find what that balance is.”

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