EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The curious start to first-round pick Kadarius Toney's career with the New York Giants only got stranger Saturday night, when coach Joe Judge revealed the rookie receiver missed the preseason opener against the New York Jets with an injury.
Toney, the 20th overall selection in April's draft out of the University of Florida, has not practiced much this spring or summer for a wide range of circumstances. The disclosure of an injury that Judge declined to offer specifics explains why the wide receiver didn't participate in practice much this past week.
"He's been dealing with it for a little bit. Something that was aggravated in practice toward the tail end of this week," Judge said. "So he was unable to play."
It does appear the Giants don't seem to think this is a long-term problem.
"Yeah, I'm not going to disclose any person's individual injury at this moment, but we hope to get him out there this week," Judge said.
Still, Toney was not out on the field during pregame warm-ups. He also wasn't seen on the sideline. Other players who did not participate in the game, such as star running back Saquon Barkley, veteran wide receiver Sterling Shepard and offensive lineman Nate Solder, were present on the sideline.
"Any injured player who was not going to be able to play in the game [Saturday night], we didn't put on the sideline," Judge said. "Everyone who was on the sideline was healthy enough to play in the game. The only exception being Saquon, and if it's a captain there is a different deal, sometimes I let them on the field."
This continues the inauspicious start to Toney's career with the Giants. He has now missed time from the spring to summer because of a cleat problem, his contract, a family emergency, COVID-19 and now an undisclosed injury.
It's not ideal, especially for a rookie looking to get acclimated to NFL. Toney is trying to learn the offense and get up to speed simultaneously.
The rookie insisted last week he wasn't behind, even though his own position coach seemed to indicate otherwise when he spoke with the media earlier.
"I mean, I feel good. I'm good," Toney said. "Am I behind? No, I feel like I'm getting better every day, learning the playbook day by day more."
That seems to have hit a roadblock this week, even if that was the case. Toney and two other Giants draft picks (third-rounder Aaron Robinson and fourth-rounder Elerson Smith) all missed an opportunity to get a taste of NFL game action against the Jets.