By Stephie Smalls @stephiesmallls

With 2 stacked wins, the Giants enter bye week with A LOT of spice in the very near future. Seeming injury-plagued since pre-season, highly-anticipated players’ returns have commenced.


Rookie X. McKinney (foot) —Judge has been clear about McKinney’s impressive progress & dedication to return, planning to watch him closely this week. His return depends on transitions into practice—consistent Limited Participation (LP) or Full Practice (FP) is good, we like that.

The Roster Heats Up

T. Crowder (hamstring) —21 day return window started last week. Returning week 12 marks 6-weeks of recovery, likely a partial tear (moderate severity). 6-weeks is a fair baseline for rehab. Expect a lot of LP action and likely a week 12 comeback.

O. Ximines (shoulder)— last practiced during week 4, but if safety, eased back he would have completed a very adequate amount of time to recover. Like McKinney, a Week 13 return is possible, but 12 is absolutely realistic.

R. Lewis (hamstring)— Lewis unsuccessfully completed the walkthrough prior to the week game. Would be surprised if he did not return in week 12.


K. Zeitler (concussion): ruled out in 4Q vs. the stinky Eagles. Despite sources noting him questionable for week 12, I am going to pull the “y’all don’t listen” Smalls Card and nearly guarantee his return (given there are no new findings). We may see an extra cautious DNP day(s), but that’s thanks to the bye week cushion.

*Bonus: this injury displayed the power of a (somewhat) rotating o-line we’ve seen.. Hernandez replaced Zeitler (and he didn’t even trip anyone!)


D. Freeman (ankle, hamstring): if you follow me on Twitter this is the rant you knew was coming. *As predicted and warned for weeks* Freeman has found himself on IR after being unable to finish practice last week. The evaluation the next day revealed a high ankle sprain (his diagnosis prior was a ‘minor’ ankle sprain), as well as a new hamstring injury. The new injury is likely secondary to overcompensating for his ankle.

A ‘minor’ ankle sprain vs a high ankle sprain has a large difference in recovery time (1-3 weeks vs 6 weeks +). Now the earliest he can return is Week 13 (unlikely). There is no reason to rush Freeman or any player back
on the field, keep calm & once again Gallman on!

Graham Gano (COVID reserve): I don’t like this, but holy bye week timing. Nearly 24h after signing his 2023 extension Gano tested positive for COVID. The natural course of the virus will likely leave Gano inactive week 12,
although not entirely impossible he plays against the Bengals. Without Gano, “kicker/punter” Ryan Santoso would fill his role. [Santoso— U of Minnesota 2015-2017, 74.3% field goal attempts, career-long FG 52-yd in 2014].

Every week we have seen small improvements, but this week it felt more like a massive leap in the right direction. And dare I say some complimentary football!

Next weeks report is a 12-pack of celebratory claws worthy.

-xx, Stephie Smalls