Kadarius Toney remains convinced he can still be the electrifying player he once was.
Focus on once.
Time is running out to prevent Toney’s second season with the Giants from following the same injury-plagued, low-impact path as his rookie year. He Inot practicing due to injuries to both hamstrings and is set to miss a fifth straight game, which will bring his total to 12 games played and 12 games missed since being a first-round pick in 2021.
But there was that game with 10 catches for 189 yards against the Cowboys on Oct. 10, 2021, when he looked like a difference maker.
“When I get back there, I feel like I’m going to be who I was originally,” Toney said. “Me, I’m doing this right now, I’m fixing my body, it’s not really going to take away from who I am and what I do.”
Toney injured his right hamstring in training camp and missed all three preseason games before playing sparingly (two catches for zero yards) in the first two games of the regular season. He still managed to aggravate the injury, which eliminated him from the next two. As he neared a comeback, Toney honed his left hamstring during limited training on Oct. 5, and his most visible involvement since then has been running straight-line sprints on Thursday. on a side court with trainers.
“I’m just better now,” Toney said. “No frustration here. I’m fine.”
When Toney plays through injuries, he often says, “It’s a matter of mindset. It all depends on what you want to do. He changed his tone combatively on Thursday to make it less about a willingness to play: “If you hurt your hamstring, would you be able to go out there and run? Mental and physical abilities really have nothing to do with anything.
Toney thinks he “probably hurt himself” trying to rush his first hamstring injury, which is why he’s “clearly” going to take his time now. The Giants visit the Jaguars on Sunday and host the next Texans next Sunday before their bye week. The trade deadline is Nov. 1, but the uncertainty of Toney’s injury would likely scare off any potential suitors.
“When you go hard, things happen. I don’t know what else to tell you,” Toney said dismissively. “If you ask anyone, top doctors or whatever, hamstrings are very delicate. If you feel like your hamstring is getting better, it might not be. You never know. It all depends on how you feel.
The Giants don’t plan to put Toney on injured reserve, which would mean four more games on the shelf.
“Hopefully we’ll see him here soon,” head coach Brian Daboll said.
The Giants are off to a 5-1 start despite leading receiver Richie James (184 yards) ranking 84th among NFL pass catchers. So, yes, a version of Toney who could replicate his only explosive game or score his first career touchdown — or even be on the field as a distraction — would help.
But there are plenty of critics within the fan base who doubt that day will come due to Toney’s lack of availability. They seem to get under his skin, based on his repeated responses on social media and not his words on the contrary.
“Why should I doubt myself? I know what I can do and what I can’t do,” Toney said. “Everyone lets a fall or an accident go wrong determine the outcome of how they feel. I really don’t care. I’m here to do a job: I’m here to play and be the best I can be. I been against the odds all my life. Why would it be any different now?
Toney declined to elaborate on whether he had started cutting while running, which is an important part of his side game. He believes he is handling things the right way.
“I trust the coaches and coaches that they will do what’s best for me and make sure I’m at my best,” Toney said. “I come to do my job every day. I don’t hear anything bad [from coaches or front office], so I guess I have to do well. I prepare as if it were a game.”