Giants' Xavier McKinney unsure he'll return in '22 after 'freak accident'

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- New York Giants safety Xavier McKinney was in a hard-plastic cast and sling Tuesday after having surgery on a couple of fingers that were injured in what he described as a "freak accident" in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, during the team's bye week.

McKinney, the Giants' defensive signal-caller and a team captain, said the vehicle he was in tilted over during a sightseeing tour. He went to the hospital in Mexico and had surgery upon returning to the United States late last week.

The Giants' starting safety would not commit to being able to return this season after being placed on the reserve/non-football injury list on Monday. He is required to miss at least four games.

"No timeline on it," McKinney said when asked if he would be back this season. "I'm just trying to take it day by day, do what everybody asks me to do. That is what I'm here for. I think I'll be fine."

He was more confident about regaining full use of his fingers.

"Yes, my hand will be fine," he said. "That is the good thing."

Coach Brian Daboll did not provide many details about the incident when he spoke to reporters earlier Tuesday, saying he wanted to let McKinney explain.

Daboll did say that cornerback Aaron Robinson is likely to miss the remainder of the season because of a knee injury he suffered last month. Robinson is currently on injured reserve.

In the meantime, the Giants are likely to have rookie Dane Belton and/or Jason Pinnock, each with two career starts, step into bigger roles without McKinney.

"I think we're all disappointed in what happened," Daboll said. "[McKinney will] do everything he can do to get back. I feel bad for him. I feel bad for us. It's an unfortunate thing that happened."

McKinney repeated on multiple occasions the incident happened on a sightseeing tour.

"That is what I can tell you," he said.

McKinney said he was in a Can-Am, which he described as a bigger version of an ATV; his original statement about the injury on Monday referred to the vehicle as an ATV. He insisted there was nothing reckless going on when the accident occurred, adding that he wanted to see the sights while being out of the country for the first time (aside from the Giants' recent trip to play in London).

"It was just an unfortunate event what happened," McKinney said.

The injury could affect McKinney's pockets, since riding in an ATV during the season is prohibited by his contract. The Giants could potentially withhold pay based on his actions if he did violate the terms of his contract. McKinney said he knows that is a possibility.

"I wouldn't be upset with it," he said. "I take full responsibility in what was going on. I'm an accountable person.

"For me, I was more upset knowing I wasn't going to be here for my team. But as far as that goes, I'm still going to be able to help as much as I can. I'm going to be in meetings. I'm going to be out there in practice helping as much as I can so we can keep this thing rolling."

McKinney's injuries will force him to miss games, at the very least, against the Houston Texans, Detroit Lions, Dallas Cowboys (on Thanksgiving) and Washington Commanders. He did not know when he would be able to shed the cast

"I think guys are doing different things [on their bye week], and it's their choice how they want to spend their time," quarterback Daniel Jones said. "You can ask Xavier. He probably regrets it, and we feel for him. I think he certainly doesn't want to be in that situation. We'll support him. The next guy up has got to be ready to go."

Fellow starting safety Julian Love will inherit the green dot that signifies which player relays the play call to the defense. But McKinney's presence will be missed. He has been a key part of a unit that is allowing 19.6 points per game, tied for eighth-best in the NFL.

"He's a rising star in this league. It's tough to replace," Love said. "He's a guy who has been holding the deep part of the field for us, been able to do some good things for us, played some fundamental football.

"I think the emphasis has to be on guys to not let it feel like there is such a big hole. That is going to take, honestly, a community of guys right now to step up and fill the roles he's been able to play this season."