Kayvon Thibodeaux didn’t use his injured right leg to kick Thaddeus Moss while he’s down.
Speaking to reporters for the first time since the cut block by Moss that ended Thibodeaux’s preseason and left him with a MCL sprain in his knee on Aug. 21, the Giants rookie pass rusher was asked if he thought the then-Bengals tight end made a dirty play — as has been heavily debated in NFL circles.
“I try not to think about the past,” said Thibodeaux, adding he spoke with Moss afterwards. “I’m not really worried about it. We’re trying to move forward, trying to get better. Make sure you play with good technique. It’s football — 100 percent injury rate.”
Thibodeaux was a limited participant in individual drills during Tuesday’s practice, backpedaling and working on hand-to-hand combat with fellow injured pass-rusher Azeez Ojulari. Moss, the son of Hall of Famer Randy Moss, was cut Monday by the Bengals.
Thibodeaux’s availability for Sunday against the Titans still looks like a long shot, especially if the Giants err on the side of caution for the development of a first-round draft pick.
“Right now it’s day-to-day — could go either way. We’re just waiting to see where it is when the time comes,” Thibodeaux said. “I’m doing a lot better — continuous rehab. I just have to be able to practice. If you don’t practice, you don’t play.”
As Thibodeaux laid on the turf, worst-case fears of a torn ACL surfaced. But he walked off without the assistance of the nearby cart.
“I sat there, I was hurting for a minute, but [God] gave me the strength to get up and walk it off,” Thibodeaux said. “I wasn’t going to look crazy going off. I’ve got to go out like a G.”
Within minutes of the initial scare, Thibodeaux had an initial diagnosis that provided peace of mind and he was joking around with teammates on the sideline, making a mouth-open shocked face that became a viral meme.
“It wasn’t really a sigh [of relief]. My knee was hurt — don’t get me wrong. But things happen. Bounce back,” Thibodeaux said before explaining what he was telling teammates in that moment. “I saw him. He saw him. Next thing I know I locked eyes with him and he cut me.”
If Thibodeaux and Ojulari are both out, the Giants will turn to Oshane Ximines and Jihad Ward as starting outside linebackers.
“We’re both pressed to get back because we both love the sport,” Thibodeaux said. “But this is the NFL. We have a room full of guys who can get the job done. We’re supporting them and also doing everything we can to get better.”
WR Darius Slayton was excused from practice, according to the team. The two-time team leader in receiving yards (2019-20) is listed as the seventh receiver — only third-teamer — on the unofficial depth chart.
The first depth chart of the season listed ILB Austin Calitro (whose last start was in 2019) as a starter next to Tae Crowder in the base defense, filling the spot opened by the surprise release of Blake Martinez.
Ben Bredeson is listed as the starting left guard, in place of the injured Shane Lemieux.
For both those spots, head coach Brian Daboll said he has a good idea of who the starter will be, but he wants a week’s worth of competition.
WR CJ Board — who had 15 catches, three punt returns and 13 kickoff returns over the past two seasons with the Giants — was released from the practice squad.