EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Daniel Jones may have returned to practice on Wednesday, but it still looks like Eli Manning will be the Giants starting quarterback on Sunday afternoon.
A team official said it is "likely" that the 38-year-old Manning will get the nod to make what could be the final home start of his iconic Giants career, this Sunday at the Meadowlands against the Miami Dolphins. Jones was "limited" at practice on Wednesday, as he attempts to recover from a high ankle sprain. And though he didn't appear to be bothered at all by his injury and said he felt fine, the source said the team will likely take a cautious approach.
And while there is definitely some sentiment in the organization to find a way to get Manning one more home start anyway -- especially since they know there are few other reasons for fans to actually show up -- it doesn't appear that will play a part in the decision. The source said it will be a medical decision and, inevitably, Pat Shurmur's call.
Shurmur, meanwhile, wasn't ruling Jones out.
"If he's healthy enough to play, then he'll play," Shurmur said. "It's always medical. If he's cleared, he's cleared. … He's cleared to practice, but again, we have to see it, evaluate it and look at it."
Jones, who suffered the injury during the Giants' loss to the Green Bay Packers on Dec. 1, clearly wants to play. He didn't seem bothered by his ankle during the short portion of practice open to the media on Wednesday and insisted it's getting better every day.
"I feel good," he said. "I think I've gotten a lot better over the course of the last week. I'm taking it day to day, doing what they tell me I can do. I'm starting to move around a little bit more and it feels good. Keep trusting that process and like I said, try to get back out there as quickly as I can."
Just how quickly that will be, even Jones wasn't sure. In fact, when asked if he expected to play at all in the final three games of the season, the best he could say was "I hope so."
"I wouldn't say it's all the way there, but I do feel a lot better," Jones said. "I'm able to move around, I'm able to do what I need to do to throw. I feel good in practice. We'll see how it goes through the week."
Of course, how Jones feels is only part of the equation. The Giants remember that when Saquon Barkley sprained his ankle in Week 4, he was pushing to get back on the field about a week later. Even though he looked good during his rehab and kept saying he felt fine, the Giants still kept him sidelined for a month to make sure he was fully ready to go.
Even Shurmur hinted that they might do the same with Jones to make sure the injury doesn't get any worse.
"Yeah, I think so," he said. "The demands on a running back with an ankle are different than the demands on a quarterback with an ankle. But I still think it's important to remember that a part of Daniel's game is his ability to move around."
Shurmur said he has no timetable for making a decision on Jones' status, though history suggests if he's not taking first-team reps on Thursday he's unlikely to start three days later.
But according to Shurmur it will all depend on how quickly Jones heals. When he's healthy, the coach said, it's Jones' job.
"I think if he's ready to play, he should play," Shurmur said. "Part of what's going on this year for him is helping us win games. He's out there, every time he plays, he's trying to help us win games. Then along the way here, there's a lot of great development that happens for a young quarterback. Guys that are healthy and able, in our estimation, should be out there playing."