The Giants may be playing in a hostile environment tonight but there will be one local who will physically be on the Giants’ side tonight.
Safety Chad Jones will join his teammates on the sideline for the first time since suffering a life-threatening leg injury in a car crash back on June 25, 2010.
And Jones is working his way through a grueling comeback toward being back on the field in pads with the Giants in training camp next summer.
On Oct. 5, Jones ran two 40-yard dashes clocked at 4.84 and 4.9. Remember, Jones nearly lost his leg and had to undergo over a dozen surgeries on his leg.
Now training with strength and conditioning coach Carter Stamm and speed and agility coach Derrick Joseph, Jones has been doing cutting and agility drills, running uphill runs and 100-yard sprints.
He put on cleats for the first time about two weeks ago and has been running 10 100-yard dashes with a resistance parachute with an average of about 15 seconds according to his physical therapist John Moran.
Jones also has been working out with Charlotte Bobcats point guard and good friend D.J. Augustin to improve on his footwork.
The goal is to be stronger than he was prior to the accident and build his endurance up.
“Chad's biggest limitation at this point is his endurance,” Moran said. “We need to build his endurance to practice with the Giants this summer and play a full 60 minutes. For all of 2010 and some of 2011, we could not train his endurance due to his inability to walk and run for long distances.”
“Now that he can do these activities without pain and swelling, his endurance is gradually getting better,” Moran continued. “He no longer has a big inflammatory response to his training. He can run and do cutting drills at lunch and come in that night and squat 300-plus pounds. Come back the next day and do it all over again, without soreness and pain.”
Moran says Jones’ athleticism is improving with each week. At the end of December, Jones plans to go one-on-one covering players without any hitting in an event open to the public. Jones is well known locally after starring at LSU on both the football and baseball teams.
And then when some of his former LSU and Giants teammates return to the area during the offseason, Jones hopes to put on pads and participate in some game-pace full-contact training around the end of February.
“Every component of Chad's athleticism is getting better every week,” Moran said. “When muscle strength, muscle endurance, foot and running speed and flexibility reach their peak, Chad Jones will play a role on the Giants defense and special teams. Carter, Derrick, and myself all feel that this will happen during the spring of 2012.”
“I predict that by May 2012, Chad will be the strongest he has ever been and running within one-tenth of a second of his best 40-yard dash time,” he added.
Tonight, Jones will get his first taste of standing on a the Giants’ sideline with his teammates during an NFL game, something that will surely motivate him even more to complete his comeback.