All of MetLife Stadium held its breath Sunday night. In the second quarter of the Giants-Bengals preseason matchup, Big Blue outside linebacker and No. 5 overall pick Kayvon Thibodeaux attempted to shed a low cut block from Bengals tight end Thaddeus Moss, only to buckle and fall to the ground shortly after. A dirty hit from the young Moss, indeed.
Thibodeaux was holding his knee in obvious pain and didn’t return following that snap. However, it seems the fanbase can breathe (for now).
NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reports Thibodeaux suffered an MCL sprain but the ACL is intact. The rookie’s timetable for return is approximately three weeks. This comes after Thibodeaux told reporters he was feeling good following Sunday night’s game.
#Giants pass-rusher Kayvon Thibodeaux has a sprained MCL, source said. The ACL is intact. But out about three weeks.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) August 22, 2022
Yes, this is much better news than some were initially anticipating. But this means Thibodeaux will miss valuable practice time and potentially the season opener against Tennessee.
The Giants kick off against the Titans on Sunday, Sept. 11, exactly three weeks removed from Thibodeaux’s injury. There’s a chance the Giants will need to rest him Week 1 and prepare for him to potentially return the following Sunday against the Panthers.
Thibodeaux’s uncertain Week 1 status could possibly lead to the Giants calling up an extra pass rusher from the practice squad once the team finalizes the 53-man roster ahead of the regular season. Outside linebackers down on the depth chart, such as Oshane Ximines and Elerson Smith, could also see additional reps in Thibodeaux’s temporary absence if healthy.
Regardless, Thibodeaux shouldn’t have been on the field that late in a meaningless preseason game. It’s understandable the rookie needs valuable reps to prepare for his inaugural NFL campaign, but that mentality comes with a huge risk.
Could you imagine the heat head coach Brian Daboll would’ve taken if Thibodeaux suffered a major injury in the second quarter of a late-August game against the Cincinnati backups? Luckily, that didn’t occur, but the organization wouldn’t have been able to gain any return on the Thibodeaux investment for quite some time if it did.