Sterling Shepard and the Giants can breathe a sigh of relief.
The second-year wide receiver said on Friday that he should be ready to go for Big Blue’s season-opener Sept. 10 in Dallas after being carted off the field with an ankle sprain in Wednesday’s practice.
“Oh yeah,” Shepard said when asked if he’ll be ready for Dallas. “I’ll be ready by Week 1, for sure.”
Shepard did not have a boot on and was walking normally when meeting the media following Friday’s light practice, where he told reporters he feels “ten times better.”
“They said after the third day you start to go uphill and it starts to feel a lot better, but it’s day two and I feel like I can get out and jog around a little bit,” he said.
Of course, the Giants won’t be having Shepard doing any jogging just yet.
With the start of the season still five weeks away, the 24-year-old wideout said he is just taking things “day by day.” Though, he acknowledged if it happened during the season he might be taking a different approach.
“I think if that was the case and I could wrap it up and push through and go,” Shepard said. “But I’m happy it happened now and not closer to Week 1, definitely a blessing that it didn’t turn out to be too serious.”
It was indeed a blessing for Shepard — an integral part of a Giants offense with high expectations this year.
Last season as a rookie he caught 65 passes and found the end zone eight times while playing out of the slot and is expected to complement fellow receivers Odell Beckham Jr. and Brandon Marshall this season.
But when Shepard went down on Wednesday, he was scared the injury was going to be much worse.
“At first I was pretty worried. I had never really hurt my ankle like that before and I felt it pop and that was the main thing that pretty much scared me,” he said. “The initial pain wasn’t too good but now we’re moving along and it’s been pretty good now.”
There were even some reports that said Shepard was in tears as he was being carted off the field, which he did not quite understand, telling reporters it frightened his mother.
“I saw something online that said I was in tears coming off the field, which was pretty amazing because you guys are two fields over and I had on a mirror visor,” Shepard said. “That scares some people. It definitely scared my mother, but we’re doing pretty good. Moving along right now.”
As Shepard spends time on the sidelines and with the trainers — he worked out on an underwater treadmill on Friday — there’s some concern he may fall behind on a new and evolving playbook.
But Shepard doesn’t see that being an issue.
“The new stuff, I have been though it, I’ve done it. I’m one of those guys if I do it one time, if I mess up on it one time I’ll correct it,” he said. “I don’t make too many mistakes so I’m sitting in the meetings and I shouldn’t fall behind play wise too much.”
The Giants certainly hope that’s the case if the offense plans to be as dangerous as advertised.
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