Sterling Shepard is taking his next steps toward getting back on the field for the New York Giants.
Head coach Joe Judge told reporters that the slot receiver will return to the practice field sometime this week where the team will observe how he moves.
While there is a chance he gets back into the lineup for Week 6 against the Washington Football Team, the more likely scenario is that he’ll be good to go for the Giants’ Week 7 Thursday-night clash against the Philadelphia Eagles.
Shepard suffered a turf toe injury during the Giants’ Week 2 loss to the Chicago Bears, prompting the team to put him on injured reserve. Under IR rules, that meant Shepard was forced to miss a minimum of three games before a window of return was allowed to open.
In his absence, the Giants offense had largely struggled, going eight-straight quarters without scoring a touchdown before a more promising 34-point effort — and two offensive scores — in a narrow loss to the Dallas Cowboys. Granted, neither of those touchdowns came through the air.
Second-year quarterback Daniel Jones has struggled for consistency, but it seems he has his most success — as do the Giants — when Shepard is in the lineup.
In Jones’ three-career victories, Shepard has played a major role in each of them, posting a combined 20 receptions for 256 yards and two touchdowns.
The problem is, Shepard has played in 12 of a possible 21 games over the last two seasons due to injuries. The Giants are 4-8 when he is healthy.