Kayvon Thibodeaux is aiming to break the Giants' rookie sack record this year, but he may have to do it in fewer than 17 games. The first-round draft pick left Sunday night's preseason win over the Bengals with a knee injury, and despite waving off the medical cart and walking off the field under his own power, he may be in danger of missing the Giants' regular-season opener. Thibodeaux downplayed his injury after the game, saying he was "good," but is battling an MCL sprain that could sideline him for three to four weeks, as confirmed by CBS Sports NFL Insider Jonathan Jones.
Drafted fifth overall this year, the star Oregon product logged a single tackle before exiting Sunday's game, during which he took a shot to the knee while engaged with Bengals tight end Thaddeus Moss. After his evaluation in the medical tent, Thibodeaux appeared to be in good spirits on the sidelines, joking with teammates and remaining with the club rather than leaving for the locker room. It's likely the Giants ruled him out for precautionary reasons, with the Sept. 11 regular-season opener fast approaching.
Coach Brian Daboll said after Sunday's game that Thibodeaux would undergo further testing on his knee on Monday. The testing revealed that the linebacker's ACL and meniscus are intact, per ESPN, but that he could need up to a month of recovery time.
As for Daboll's reaction when the injury happened, he said, "I think it's a scare any time. These players work as hard as they can possibly work to try to do as well as they can, and any time you see someone on the turf, regardless of how they got here, it's always hard as a coach to watch a guy go down."
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Thibodeaux is expected to serve a major role in the Giants' defense, now under the direction of Don "Wink" Martindale. He entered the preseason listed as a starting outside linebacker opposite 2021 second-rounder Azeez Ojulari.