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Sterling Shepard 'ready to go' amid Giants' injuries


EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Amid all the Giants players missing games because of injuries, wide receiver Sterling Shepard made the welcome announcement that he will return to the field when the Giants host the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday.

"I feel great. Ready to go," Shepard said after the first of the Giants' two walk-throughs on Wednesday. "I felt good (before last week's game in Dallas), but I think it was a little late in the week, and we decided to just sit it down for that last week. Back this week. Happy about that."

So are the Giants, who last week lost several of their most important players to injuries, including quarterback Daniel Jones, running back Saquon Barkley and wide receiver Kenny Golladay.

Shepard injured his hamstring in the first half of the Giants' loss to Atlanta on Sept. 26 (as did another wideout, Darius Slayton). He was inactive for the team's victory 10 days ago in New Orleans and the loss to the Cowboys.

The injury forced an abrupt halt to the fastest start of Shepard's six-year career. Through two games, he was in a four-way tie for the NFL receptions lead with 16 and was tied with Houston's Brandin Cooks for the league lead with seven third-down catches.

It's no mystery why Shepard said it was "really frustrating" to miss the last two games.

"You get out to a pretty good start and just want to help the team get wins and then not to be a part of the win in New Orleans, it's one of the places I've never got to play," Shepard said. "(I) really wanted to play there, and then Dallas is always a fun spot to play as well. It wasn't any fun missing those two and not being out there with the guys. But, back this week and hopefully we can get a W."

In Shepard's absence, first-round draft choice Kadarius Toney sensationally stepped up, with 16 catches for 267 yards. In Dallas, he set the Giants rookie record with 189 receiving yards on 10 catches.

"Great," Shepard said of Toney's performance. "He's electric with the ball. You get the ball in his hands and he's going to make something special happen. We've got to continue to do that, and everybody else has got to play their part."

Shepard has displayed numerous nifty moves in his career, but Toney has raised elusiveness to a new level.

"He's twitchy, man," Shepard said. "I was calling him a jitterbug. It's hard because I remember whenever he caught the ball when I was in the game and I saw him make a couple (people) miss, and I'm sitting there and I'm like, I need to be blocking somebody (laughs). He's fun to watch, man."

*Toney was ejected from the Dallas game after punching safety Damontae Kazee in the fourth quarter. Coach Joe Judge was asked if he's heard from the NFL about a suspension or fine for Toney.

"I've heard nothing official from the league on anything," Judge said. "I addressed it earlier. Obviously, there's discipline inside and I'll handle discipline in-house."

*The Giants did not have a full practice Wednesday, so their injury report was officially a projection. But that didn't reduce the number of players who appeared on it.

Six players did not participate, Jones (concussion), Barkley (ankle), Golladay (knee), offensive linemen Andrew Thomas (foot) and Matt Skura (knee), and defensive back Rodarius Williams (knee). The Giants announced Monday that Williams will miss the rest of the season after tearing his ACL in Dallas.

Seven players were limited, including wide receivers Shepard, Slayton and Toney (ankle), offensive lineman Ben Bredeson (hand), and defensive backs Jabrill Peppers (hamstring), Logan Ryan (hip) and Nate Ebner (quad). Peppers was inactive for the Cowboys game.

*Barkley and Golladay stayed inside to work with the athletic trainers while the team was on the field.

"We'll see if that improves as far as going into tomorrow," Judge said. "The other guys will all be active with us in practice as far as moving around. We're going to practice some today. We'll have a better idea probably coming out tomorrow in terms of seeing these guys in some extended movement of what we're going to do, but they'll all be out here with us in practice."

*Second-year linebacker Cam Brown returned to practice today. He had been on injured reserve since Sept. 25 with a hamstring injury. Brown has not suited up since he participated in 11 special teams plays in the season opener vs. Denver.

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