Giants' Xavier McKinney says he expects to return this season

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- New York Giants safety Xavier McKinney told ESPN on Tuesday that he expects to return this season from the hand injury he suffered in a bye-week ATV accident in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.

McKinney, who was placed on the non-football injury list on Nov. 7, was previously unsure of his timeline. He can't be designated for return until at least after this week's game against the Washington Commanders.

It will likely be at least several more weeks before McKinney returns.

The Giants (7-4) are sixth in the NFC as they attempt to reach the postseason for the first time since 2016. Seven teams reach the playoffs in each conference.

McKinney is a key member of the Giants' defense. He is a team captain and the defensive signal-caller when healthy.

New York was without three-quarters of its starting secondary in the loss to the Dallas Cowboys on Thanksgiving. McKinney and cornerback Adoree' Jackson are likely out several more weeks, while cornerback Fabian Moreau appears set to return in Sunday's key contest against Washington.

Tight end Daniel Bellinger, right tackle Evan Neal, center Jon Feliciano, outside linebacker Azeez Ojulari, guard Ben Bredeson and safety Tony Jefferson are also trending toward a return after missing time with injuries. Each participated, to some degree, in a rare padded practice on Tuesday.

News that McKinney also expects to return is a positive. He would not commit to being back this season the last time he talked to the media.

"No timeline on it," McKinney said at the time 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."

McKinney, 23, has 37 tackles, one sack, four passes defended and a forced fumble this season.