When the New York Giants take the field against the Philadelphia Eagles in the Divisional Round of the NFL Playoffs this weekend, safety Xavier McKinney will do so with a renewed appreciation for his career.
During the Giants' bye week in November, McKinney was in Mexico when he got in an ATV accident that shattered his hand. McKinney missed seven games with the injury, and he told the New York Post that he came close to losing several fingers as a result of the crash.
"I don't think people understood the magnitude of what it was," McKinney said. "They didn't really understand how broken that it really was. I think a lot of people didn't understand that I coulda really lost three fingers. I was almost close to losing three of my fingers."
McKinney recently posted X-rays of his broken hand and fingers on Instagram, and he said the doctor wasn't even sure he could repair it due to the severe damage.
"When we were doing surgery, actually the doc told me afterwards, he was like he wasn't sure how he was even gonna be able to get all the pieces back together 'cause there was so many," McKinney said. "My fingers were shattered."
After that close call, McKinney said he won't take anything for granted ever again. He knows things can change in an instant, and that has given him a new outlook on life.
"That's why I say the time is so valuable, everything is precious," McKinney said. "I try to take nothing for granted. It was a life-changing experience for me. It was traumatizing for me. I never saw anything like that with my own eyes. It was different. It made me change my perspective on a lot of things."
McKinney made his return to the field on New Year's Day when the Giants defeated the Colts 38-10 to clinch a playoff berth. In that game, McKinney made seven total tackles and defended a pass.
In last weekend's playoff game against the Minnesota Vikings, McKinney totaled eight tackles, including a fourth-down stop on T.J. Hockenson that sealed the win for the Giants.
This weekend, the Giants will need another heroic performance from McKinney as they face an Eagles offense that is one of the best in the NFL. That game kicks off from Lincoln Financial Field at 8:15 p.m. ET on Saturday night.