Giants will be shorthanded again, three starters ruled out

Alec-Ogletree-Odell-Beckham

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – The Giants today declared four players, including three starters, out of their game Sunday against the Colts in Indianapolis.

Wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr., linebacker Alec Ogletree and center Spencer Pulley – who have each started at least eight games this season – will be sidelined, as will reserve wideout Russell Shepard.

Defensive lineman Kerry Wynn is questionable with a thumb injury.

Beckham will miss his third consecutive game with a quad injury he suffered at Philadelphia on Nov. 25. He leads the team’s wideouts with 77 catches for 1,052 yards and six touchdowns.

Beckham has one more chance to make it back to the field this season, in the Dec. 30 finale at home against Dallas.

“He’s closer, he’s closer,” coach Pat Shurmur said. “He did more this week, he’s able to do more field work, so we’ll just have to see what the next couple days bring, so we’ll see.”

Ogletree will be inactive for the second time this season; he missed the Oct. 28 game vs. Washington with a hamstring injury. His absence means the Giants will take the field without both of their defensive captains and their two leading tacklers. Safety Landon Collins, whose team-high 96 tackles are three more than fellow captain Ogletree, will miss his third straight game and is on injured reserve because of a shoulder injury that required surgery.

If the Giants open in a base defense, rookie Tae Davis could make this third start of the season in place of Ogletree.

After Jon Halapio (two) and John Greco (four) combined to start the first six games, Pulley stepped in as the first-team center at Atlanta on Oct. 22 and has started the last eight. He helped solidify an offensive line that has played markedly better in the second half of the season, but he suffered a calf injury last week against Tennessee.

Greco will start against the Colts. Rookie free agent Evan Brown will be in uniform for the second time this season to back him up.

Shepard was inactive for two games in October with a neck injury and will sit Sunday with a sprained ankle. His season totals include 10 catches for 188 yards and two touchdowns, including a 49-yard on a pass from Beckham in Washington.

*Shurmur said he is “curious” about the notion the Giants will have a letdown because they have been eliminated from the playoff race.

“I don’t know why (we would),” he said. “Let’s assume you have a finite number of games that you’re going to play as a football player. Let’s assume that. I don’t know why you would let down. On the rare occasion when you’re in the playoffs and that next game means nothing, I see resting guys. But in this case here, we’re coaches and players. We’re paid to play and it just so happens that our profession is our hobby. I’ve never understood that. That’s part of the narrative that I don’t understand because as football players, coaches – sometimes you play poorly. We didn’t play well last week in some areas and we lost, but it wasn’t because we went in there and let down. I don’t get that.

“I don’t think the motivation to play should be any different. Certainly they’re still in the hunt and they have played well of late, but we’re going to go on the road and I’m sure it’s going to be a loud venue like it always is on the road. So we’ve got to handle the crowd noise and just play good ball.”

*The Colts lead the regular-season series, 9-6, including victories in the previous three games between the teams, in 2006, 2010 and 2014. The teams last met on Monday night, Nov. 3, 2014, when Andrew Luck threw four touchdown passes in the Colts’ 40-24 victory. Indianapolis won the only previous meeting in Lucas Oil Stadium, 38-14, on Sept. 10, 2010. The Giants last won in the series on Dec. 22, 2002, when they defeated the Colts, 44-27, in Indianapolis. This will be the Giants’ first regular-season game in Lucas Oil Stadium since they won Super Bowl XLVI there seven years ago.

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