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Darren Waller’s first night with the Giants was not exactly one to remember.

It was not as bad as past anticipated debuts against the Cowboys — see, Brandon Marshall in 2017. But it was nothing to celebrate. Waller injured his hamstring during the work week. He then managed just three catches for 36 yards in the Cowboys’ 40-0 romp. And he informed reporters after the loss that he has a nerve issue behind his balky hammy.

Waller missed eight games last season with hamstring issues. And he missed six games in 2021 due to ankle and knee injuries. That adds up to 14 missed games over the previous two seasons. Which is a big reason why a 30-year-old Pro Bowl tight end (his 31st birthday is Wednesday) got traded by the Raiders for a song in the offseason. And all of this has to alarm the Giants as they try to move forward after this disgrace of a season opener.

The only way Daniel Jones continues to ascend as a quarterback — assuming that he ever gets adequate protection from his offensive line — is for the Giants to give him playmaking receivers. Waller is the only guy currently on the roster that fits the bill. Jalin Hyatt could get there someday, but right now he is a rookie who had a bad drop in his first game. And the rest of the Giants’ pass-catchers are fringe No. 2 wideouts at best. They need Waller to stay on the field and be a game-breaker. And their worst fears about the former are already beginning to feel present.

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James Kratch can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @jameskratch.

James Kratch is the managing editor of ESNY. He previously worked as a Rutgers and Giants (and Mike Francesa) beat reporter for NJ Advance Media.