Adoree’ Jackson’s practice return looks like a crucial boost for Giants defense

Adoree ‘Jackson, the top cornerback on a Giants team poised for a win-in Sunday game against the Colts to qualify for the playoffs for the first time in six years, took a step forward on Wednesday, a turn of events that could be a boon for the Giants defense.

Jackson returned to training on a limited basis Wednesday, the first time he’s been on the court with his teammates since spraining his knee Nov. 20.

Jackson was injured while returning a punt in a 31-18 loss to the Lions at MetLife Stadium. The medial collateral ligament sprain has kept him out of the last five games. The Giants lost three, won one and tied another. Jackson’s absence strained the back of the defense, leaving Fabian Moreau as No. 1 cornerback and requiring Nick McCloud and Darnay Holmes to be on the field for extended playing time.

At the start of training, Jackson moved well inside the pitch before the defensive backs got to work on individual drills on the outside.

Adoree’ Jackson at Giants practice on December 22, 2022.
Bill Kostrun/New York Post

Another positive development for the defense: outside linebacker Azeez Ojulari was able to train in a limited way. Ojulari was ejected from the Christmas Eve loss to the Vikings in Minneapolis with a sprained ankle, rolling his ankle after sacking Kirk Cousins. Ojulari compared it to a basketball-like sprained ankle. Ankle X-rays came back negative, and Ojulari’s return to the field so quickly makes him at least an option to play against the Colts. Ojulari has struggled to get along and stay on the court this season, but in six games he has 5.5 sacks.

Two players who will not play against the Colts: Safety Xavier McKinney and offensive lineman Shane Lemieux. McKinney, on the non-football injury list, is recovering from a broken finger in his left hand, is not yet ready to return to training. He could be seen running sprints inside the clubhouse, and off to the side he grabbed tennis balls from a trainer, which is a sign of progress.

Azeez Ojulari trains with Kayvon Thibodeaux at Giants practice on December 22, 2022.
Azeez Ojulari trains with Kayvon Thibodeaux at Giants practice on December 22, 2022.
Bill Kostrun/New York Post

Lemieux (toe) was placed on the season-ending injured reserve. Lemieux missed the first nine games with a toe injury, returned in Week 10 to start against the Lions, re-injured his toe and did not play since.

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