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TODAY'S PAPER

Giants hopeful Olivier Vernon can play Sunday vs. Cowboys

Giants linebacker Olivier Vernon lines up during a preseason game against the Jets at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., on Aug. 24. Photo Credit: Daniel De Mato

The Giants could be getting one of their top defenders back this week. Olivier Vernon, the linebacker who missed the opener with a high ankle sprain, will return to the practice field Wednesday, coach Pat Shurmur said in a radio interview Tuesday.

“He’ll be out there this week,” Shurmur said on WFAN. “He’s getting closer. He’s a fast healer, from what I’m told, and he’s going to be at practice [Wednesday] and throughout.”

Shurmur did not commit to Vernon being available to play Sunday night against the Cowboys. “We’ll just see how much he can do as we get ready to play,” he said.

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But Vernon’s return to practice is a very good sign. He has not been on the field with the team since he injured his ankle during a practice on Aug. 26. And if he does play Sunday, he may not be asked to be on the field for every snap.

“We’re going to use the whole roster in terms of the D-line and the edge players to make sure we get fresh good snaps,” Shurmur said.

The Giants used rookie Lorenzo Carter and Connor Barwin to replace Vernon in the 20-15 loss to the Jaguars. Shurmur said he thought the Giants’ pass rush was “pretty good.” The Giants had one sack in the game.

“We got some good rushes out of the guys on the inside,” he said. “I thought for the most part we did a good job of disrupting [Blake] Bortles. A couple of times we got knockdowns and tipped balls. I thought for the most part they did a good job … I thought the guys who played, contributed well.”

Giant steps

Saquon Barkley’s 106 rushing yards were the most by a Giant in his NFL debut since Eddie Price had 91 on Sept. 17, 1950 … Eli Manning completed his first 11 passes against Jacksonville, tying his career high for the start of a game that he set against Detroit on Dec. 18, 2016. He also completed his first 10 throws twice … The Giants started three of their rookie draft picks against the Jaguars (Barkley, G Will Hernandez, DL B.J. Hill). According to the Elias Sports Bureau, it was the first time they started three draft choices as rookies in a season opener since 1997 (WR Ike Hilliard, RB Tiki Barber, S Sam Garnes).