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Eli Apple, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie have a chance to return

New York Giants rookie cornerback Eli Apple was

New York Giants rookie cornerback Eli Apple was erratic against the Cowboys in his NFL debut. Photo Credit: Brad Penner

Eli Apple and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie were limited in practice on Thursday and could be available for the Giants on Sunday against the Packers.

“We’re getting a little bit of work out of some of them,” defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo said of his injured corners. “We’re hopeful we can get one and a half or one and three quarters [of the two back]. We need them back. We missed them.”

Without them, the Giants relied on Trevin Wade at cornerback against Minnesota, and the Vikings attacked him. The Giants still are waiting for Nat Berhe to clear the concussion protocol and might have to give undrafted rookie Andrew Adams his second straight start.

Rodgers-Cromartie (groin) would seem to be the closest to playing of the injured defensive backs. He was active against the Vikings but remained on the sideline for an emergency role only. Apple (hamstring) started running on Wednesday and said he felt good.

“I had a chance to do individual drills and DB drills,” Apple said. He expects to advance to team drills on Saturday. And then play on Sunday?

“I think so,” he said.

Vernon’s wrist an issue

Olivier Vernon suffered a wrist injury in the opener against the Cowboys. Although he hasn’t missed many snaps because of it, Spagnuolo said it is hampering his play.

“I don’t think people realize it’s affecting him as much as it is,” Spagnuolo said. “He battles through it all week and then goes out and plays.”

Spagnuolo even pointed out that Vernon asked to play more defensive tackle against Washington two weeks ago because of the injury. “You don’t do as much hand-fighting inside as you do outside,” he said.

Vernon was listed as limited in Thursday’s practice.

“He’s getting there,” Spagnuolo said. “He doesn’t use it very much during practice, but then when he gets to the game, he forgets about it and goes.”

Giant steps

Packers CB Sam Shields (concussion) was ruled out for Sunday’s game . . . RB Rashad Jennings (thumb) was limited for the Giants; RT Marshall Newhouse (calf), S Darian Thompson (foot) and TE Larry Donnell (concussion) did not practice . . . Spagnuolo said he still wants to bring down the snap count for Vernon and Jason Pierre-Paul. “It’s hard to take guys of that quality off the field,” he said.


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