(Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

With left guard Will Hernandez testing positive for COVID-19, is rookie Shane Lemieux poised to start in his place?

New York Giants starting left guard Will Hernandez tested positive for COVID-19 and was subsequently placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list. Hernandez’s positive test was discovered on Wednesday night, according to a team source.

Because of this, eight Giants players were told not to come to the team facility on Thursday, including offensive linemen Cam Fleming, Nick Gates, Spencer Pulley, Andrew Thomas, and Shane Lemieux.

The latter-most individual is Hernandez’s primary backup, and unless the Giants’ game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers gets postponed, the rookie is poised to make his first NFL start on Monday night.

Making your first NFL start is always a challenge, especially when you only have a few days to prepare for one of the NFL’s top defensive fronts.

The Buccaneers defense is third in total yards allowed per game (291.3) and their front seven consists of Ndamukong Suh, Shaquil Barrett, Devin White, along with former Giant Jason Pierre-Paul.

Facing a defense such as Tampa Bay’s can be daunting, but one thing people have said about Lemieux is that he’s aggressive and doesn’t back down from anyone.

Head coach Joe Judge was asked if Lemieux would be ready to make his first NFL start on Monday.

“Shane has been doing a good job really improving for us throughout the season,” Judge said. “He’s done a really good job in practice. We were planning on really working him in throughout the games anyway to be honest with you. In terms of just like we kind of worked Matt Peart into games as well. We have confidence in Shane. He’ll be in the mix with different guys that may factor into that position. We’ll see where it goes by the end of the week and where everything leads going into Monday. We have confidence in Shane, I would expect him to play regardless of what the scenario is.”

When the Giants took Lemieux in the fifth round (No. 150 overall) of this past draft, they saw a bright future ahead of him. That future begins on Monday night when he’ll undergo a strenuous debut assignment for any offensive lineman.

Jason's first love was football while growing up in northern New Jersey. For the past three years, he has covered the New York Giants, as well as several boxing events along the East Coast.