Sterling Shepard injury: Latest on Giants WR’s turf toe, Week 3 status vs. 49ers

Sterling Shepard
Giants wide receiver Sterling Shepard has missed the last three games due to turf toe. (Mike Dinovo-USA TODAY Sports)

The New York Giants won’t have one of their top receivers, Sterling Shepard, available for Sunday afternoon’s Week 3 tilt against the San Francisco 49ers and has been placed on injured reserve.

Shepard initially suffered the injury during the first quarter of Week 2 against the Chicago Bears, making him a non-factor in the 17-13 loss for a majority of the afternoon. Further testing was undergone earlier this week to realize the extent of the injury.

It’s been an injury-riddled two seasons for the 27-year-old, who missed six games last season due to concussion issues.

Considering that turf toe is a lingering injury, placing Shepard on injured reserve was a logical option. The NFL’s IR rules amidst the COVID-19 pandemic this year that allows a three-week period before a player is reactivated, giving Shepard ample time to heal.

It can be assumed that a practice-squad player will be promoted as a fill-in. 

In the meantime, Daniel Jones will be left with a wide-receiving group of Darius Slayton, Golden Tate, Damion Ratley, and C.J. Board. 

Slayton has quickly developed into Jones’ top target — the second-year receiver hauling in nine catches for 135 yards and two touchdowns in two games this season. Shepard’s absence also gives Tate an opportunity to find some momentum within the Giants’ offense as he racked up five receptions in his season debut last week against the Bears. 

Shepard is the only other Giants wide receiver not named Slayton to have more than five catches this year, posting eight receptions for 76 yards.

His loss is just the latest in what is becoming a difficult week for the Giants. On Monday, the team announced that star running back Saquon Barkley will miss the rest of the 2020 season after tearing his ACL. They responded by signing free-agent Devonta Freeman as an early-down back where he will be supported by Dion Lewis.