Xavier McKinney
Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

Xavier McKinney is back.

ESPN’s Jordan Raanan reports the third-year Giants safety is expected to return this Sunday against the Colts after missing seven games with a hand injury. McKinney suffered the injury during the bye week when he was in an ATV accident in Cabo.

McKinney has been on the non-football injury (NFI) list but was designated to return to practice on Thursday, which opened up a 21-day window to officially activate him.

Returning one of the team’s top defensive players will be huge for a Giants squad looking to clinch a shocking postseason berth. With a win over Indianapolis, the Giants would reach the playoffs for the first time since 2016. McKinney, with his versatility and captainship, should prove a major boost for a defensive unit that’s now 27th in total defense (366.3 yards allowed per game).

McKinney impressing in Weeks 17, 18, and potentially in the playoffs could also go a long way in terms of his future. He was likely in line to get a contract extension after this season, but the ATV accident made things tricky. If he can put together a few big performances and provide the crucial boost this Giants’ defense needs, there’s a chance general manager Joe Schoen could still lock him in this offseason.

Other injury news:

For Sunday’s matchup, cornerback Adoree’ Jackson (knee) is doubtful while outside linebacker Azeez Ojulari (ankle) is questionable.

Jackson is likely a no-go against the Colts and should miss a sixth straight game after going down on a punt return in Week 11.

Ojulari suffered his ankle injury in last week’s loss to the Vikings and prematurely exited the game. But head coach Brian Daboll believes he will play against Indianapolis.

Defensive lineman Leonard Williams was also on this week’s injury report with a neck injury but has no designation for the game, meaning he will play.

Ryan Honey is a staff writer and host of the Wide Right Podcast.