Giants S Xavier McKinney Facing Multi-Week Absence

3:30pm: The Giants have placed McKinney on the reserve/NFI list, per a team announcement. That will leave him sidelined for at least the next four weeks; he will require designation for a return, along the same lines as players on IR, which will open a three-week return window.

12:50pm: The Giants just completed their bye week, but the team actually lost a key member of their defense in recent days. Safety Xavier McKinney suffered a broken hand, and will now miss several weeks (Twitter link via Ian Rapoport of NFL Network).

McKinney himself tweeted an explanation for his situation. The injury occurred during an ATV accident while he was on vacation. As Rapoport confirmed, this will leave the Giants without one of their top defensive players while they return to action looking to build off of an impressive start.

The 23-year-old has once again operated as a full-time starter on the backend of the Giants’ secondary this season. McKinney has totaled 38 tackles, four pass deflections and one sack while playing every defensive snap to date. A key communicator for the unit, the former second-rounder emerged as a foundational played for Big Blue last year, when he notched five interceptions.

As part of the team’s 6-2 start to the campaign, New York boasts the league’s eighth-ranked scoring defense (allowing an average of 19.6 points per game). The Alabama product has played an instrumental role in that success, but he will now be sidelined with the second notable injury of his career. McKinney suffered a broken foot just before his rookie season began, which limited him to six games played. He logged a full season last year.

In their search for a new partner alongside Julian Love, the Giants could turn to fourth-round rookie Dane Belton as a McKinney replacement. The Iowa alum missed the season opener, but has played a regular defensive role since. Special teamer Jason Pinnock could also be in line for a larger workload, especially with veteran Tony Jefferson on IR.

In need of continuing their hot start to keep pace in the highly-competitive NFC East, the Giants will start their time without McKinney on Sunday against the Texans.

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