Giants to get needed reinforcements for pivotal Commanders game


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Help is on the way not a moment too soon for the Giants.

Nine players were listed as questionable on the final injury report of the week, but all finished the week trending in the direction of playing Sunday against the Commanders. The list includes TE Daniel Bellinger (eye), S Dane Belton (clavicle), RB Gary Brightwell (illness), LB Carter Coughlin (thigh), C Jon Feliciano (neck), CBs Fabian Moreau (oblique) and Darnay Holmes (shoulder), and WRs Richie James (knee) and Darius Slayton (illness).

The reinforcements don’t end there. OLB Azeez Ojulari (calf) and S Tony Jefferson (foot) also could be on the field Sunday, but they do not carry availability designations because they remain on injured reserve after rejoining practice earlier this week. In all, that would be six players who did not play on Thanksgiving against the Cowboys who are back against Washington for a game in which the loser could drop outside of the playoff picture.

Giants tight end Daniel Bellinger will look to make an impact in the pivotal game on Sunday against the Commanders.
Don Juan Moore/Getty Images

“We’ll sit down as a coaching staff, personnel staff, and make the best decision we can,” head coach Brian Daboll said. “If they’re ready to go, we’d love them to be out there.”

The Giants will be without OL Josh Ezeudu (neck) and Shane Lemieux (toe), as well as CB Adoree’ Jackson (knee). Without Ezeudu and Lemieux, and with Ben Bredeson (knee) unlikely to come off injured reserve by Sunday, Nick Gates is expected to become the Giants’ fifth different starting left guard in 12 games.

Ojulari, who has played just two games because of various injuries dating to training camp, could be on a snap count, Daboll acknowledged.

Gary Brightwell #33 of the New York Giants returns a kick during the NFL match between New York Giants and Green Bay Packers at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on October 09, 2022 in London, England.
Gary Brightwell should be back in the lineup on Sunday.
Stu Forster/Getty Images

Of the nine questionables, only Slayton was a non-participant in Friday’s practice. The bug spreading around the locker room clearly affected left tackle Andrew Thomas’ performance against the Cowboys. If Slayton is slowed, the Giants will have to make game-plan adjustments because he is the only receiver who is a consistent threat.

“The next man up would have to fill in those shoes,” receivers coach Mike Groh said, “but I’m anticipating that Darius will be fine.”

Bellinger will wear a visor in his return to the field after four games missed. A fracture near the eye socket drew blood the last time the rookie played.

“His fitness level is great and his aptitude is better than it was four weeks ago,” tight ends coach Andy Bischoff said. “He knows what we are doing at a better level. It’s almost like the guy got four bye weeks of mental growth. We would’ve loved to have him physically, but he took no mental vacation. He is sharp.”

Commanders DE Chase Young (knee) is listed as questionable. He hasn’t played since tearing his ACL on Nov. 14, 2021.

Giants assistant general manager Brandon Brown has bragging rights over Daboll after Brown’s alma mater (St. Anthony’s on Long Island) beat Daboll’s alma mater (St. Francis in the Buffalo suburb of Hamburg) in the New York Catholic High School Football League AAA state championship game. St. Francis squandered a 20-point lead in a 27-20 loss.

“Brandon’s been giving it to me pretty good,” Daboll said.

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