Wink Martindale feels bad for Xavier McKinney, names his Giants replacement

Wink Martindale feels bad for Xavier McKinney, names his Giants replacement

Defensive coordinator Wink Martindale said rookie Dane Belton is next in line at safety after Xavier McKinney was put on the reserve/non-football injury list after a bye-week injury.

McKinney fractured multiple fingers on his left hand on Nov. 2 after taking a spill while riding in a Can-Am vehicle during what he described as a sightseeing tour in Cabos San Lucas, Mexico.

“I feel bad for the guy himself,’’ Martindale said. “I know he didn’t do it on purpose. I feel bad for his teammates, but you got a group of men in there that are just selfless and want to play for each other. And they understand series of events, and they’re going to be ready to step up and go play.’’

GiantsWink Martindale and Xavier McKinneyRobert Sabo (2)

WR Richie James is no longer in the concussion protocol, but he likely has lost his punt-return role after losing two fumbles in the loss in Seattle. Thomas McGaughey, the special teams coordinator, pointed out that James should not have been wearing a long-sleeve cotton shirt under his jersey and blamed himself for not noticing that during the game.

“It was my fault,’’ McGaughey said. “I should’ve told him to take it off. I’m normally all over that. It was my fault. I slipped on that one.’’

Most ball carriers — especially running backs — wear short sleeves no matter the weather, for improved ball security. Tucking the ball into your arm while wearing long sleeves can lead to the ball coming out.

McGaughey mentioned CB Darnay Holmes and practice squad WR Kalil Pimpleton as options to return punts, while not confirming that James has lost the job.

Head coach Brian Daboll said OL Shane Lemieux “looked good” in his first practice on Tuesday. Lemieux has not played this season after undergoing toe surgery in early August. He could be available to come off injured reserve at any time.

The Giants are thin along the defensive line afterseason ending injury (torn biceps) to Nick Williams, who started seven of the first eight games. Martindale said some of the outside linebackers have flexibility to move inside, naming Jihad Ward as capable of playing in the interior in pass-rush situations. … DT Aaron Crawford, signed to the practice squad earlier in the week, had his contract terminated.