Graham Gano’s COVID-19 quarantine ‘terrible’, but sharp in return

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Graham Gano's COVID-19 quarantine 'terrible', but sharp in return

Graham Gano followed up a “terrible” two weeks with his typical flawless performance.

Gano tested positive for COVID-19 on Nov. 16 and spent most of the next two weeks in NFL-mandated quarantine, returning to Giants practice Friday and not missing a beat Sunday as he kicked four field goals in a 19-17 win against the Bengals.

“That was terrible,” Gano said of his time isolated in a hotel room. “I got so tired of being on my phone or computer watching movies. I would sit and look at the window and couldn’t wait to get back outside.

“But there are so many people around the world right now struggling with the same thing, so I just feel blessed I was able to come out of it and be fine. There’s a lot of people out there not so fortunate right now, so I feel like you have to keep praying for those people. I’m fortunate I was able to have good care around me. I feel pretty good right now.”

Gano described his symptoms as a “pretty aggressive” fever, body aches, headaches and a temporary loss of taste. He was needed for 11 plays on Sunday — four field goals to run his streak of consecutive successful attempts to 24, one PAT and six kickoffs.

“I don’t think there was a time I was really worried,” Gano said, when asked if he feared being sidelined longer than the minimum. “Today, I was a bit fatigued. But they trust me to go out on the field and kick the ball, and I was able to do that.”

Gano credited the Giants trainers, medical staff and nutritionist for bringing him food and other necessities. He used a kicking net in his hotel room to stay sharp enough to connect from 49, 40, 39 and 32 yards against the Bengals.

“I just wanted to make sure I was getting some reps in somehow,” Gano said. “I was able to get that and not make any neighbors mad, so that went well.”

Gano’s first kickoff — returned 103 yards for a touchdown by Brandon Wilson — did not go well.

“That was all my fault,” he said. “I’ve got to kick off better directionally. I hit it down the middle of the field, and that just puts the team in a bad position. At the end of the day, I’ve got to make that tackle, too. I thought I had him. I’ve made enough tackles in my career that I know what to do, and I just didn’t do a good job there, so all-around I feel like you could just put that on me.”

A self-described “roller-coaster” two weeks began with Gano celebrating a three-year, $14 million contract extension, signed hours after the Giants beat the Eagles. It ended with business as usual.

“I’m just so excited to be here and happy to be playing football again,” Gano said. “About a little over a year ago, I wasn’t sure if I was going to play football again after having the surgery on my femur, so it’s just a true blessing to be able to play the game I love.”

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