When Xavier McKinney thinks about when he broke his foot during training camp, the Giants beginners ’safety reminded him how everything seemed to happen so fast.
The Giants signed McKinney in the second round of the draft in April, and since August, he has been placed in injured reserve. McKinney said he underwent surgery a few hours after he was discovered he had broken a bone in his left foot.
“I had the process really fast,” McKinney said in a Zoom call Friday. “At the beginning of the stages of this, in my head, it was a brutal start for me. But I just saw it as another opportunity to improve for myself, to learn more and also to make sure my body lived up to what I needed to do to get back.
“It was hard at first, but over time, I started working and trying to improve my game.”
Time has continued to charge, and McKinney is he is expected to make his highly anticipated NFL debut this Sunday against the Bengals. Coach Joe Judge said he was “encouraged” by the way McKinney “moved and looked so far.”
Considering the Giants (3-7) are suddenly in the thick of the fight in NFC East, McKinney’s time couldn’t have been more ideal.
“The little we could see of him rehabilitating before that, it looked like he was in shape to return,” the judge said before practice. “I will say that everything has been on track with him on a timely return. [Friday] it will be a great day for him in terms of situations and how he can handle it. There’s more to it than just being able to escape through it.
“We have to make sure we can mentally shoot on the same page as everyone else. But we have to make the decision after practice. [Friday]. “
The Alabama product admitted that it was difficult to come to terms with the start of its beginner season in IR. But he said the coaching staff kept him busy and gave him homework every week while he watched an endless movie and attended meetings.
With high hopes for his first year in the league, McKinney said it was easy to stay focused.
“I could watch movies on my iPad, and I could even watch the real copy of the game, because sometimes I would watch the games at home,” the 22-year-old said. “I could only watch TV to see certain situations, certain trainings, certain paths that I may have never seen or something new for me.
“It was also good for me to be able to study the different QBs and QBs that we played at a little bit just to have a sense for how they played and what they read and what they did.”
Logan Ryan, who the Giants signed the same week McKinney was injured, was the starting free safety, while the Jabrill Peppers started everything but a game to strong safety. McKinney said he learned a lot from the two during his rehabilitation.
“It was just nice to be back in square one in general,” he said. “I’ve been waiting for this moment. I’ve been really excited about it.”