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Giants 'hopeful' Olivier Vernon can make season debut Sunday against the Saints

'It feels great,' Vernon said of his high ankle sprain. 'Making progress.'

Giants linebacker Olivier Vernon lines up during a

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

  

Olivier Vernon participated in a second straight practice on Thursday, and the Giants are “hopeful” he’ll be able to make his season debut against the Saints.

“It feels great,” Vernon said of his high ankle sprain before the workout. “Making progress. That’s the goal, make progress. I just have to see, go out there day-by-day.”

Pat Shurmur said Vernon did not take part in any team drills on Wednesday but did some individual position work. “I think he looked better than last week,” he said. “We’re hopeful. We’ll see.”

Before this week, Vernon hadn’t been on the field since he twisted his ankle in a practice on Aug. 26. The Giants have used three players to start in his place in the first three weeks: Connor Barwin, Lorenzo Carter and Kerry Wynn.

The Giants will announce an injury designation for Vernon on Friday. There is a chance he will be a game-time decision on Sunday.

“I think O.V. is trending [up] and we’ll see at the end of the week where he’s at,” defensive coordinator James Bettcher said. “ . . . When we do end up getting him back, whether that’s this week or the future, we’ll be excited to have him back.”

Vernon said of his practice participation: “It’s progress, so that’s a good sign.”

Notes & quotes: DT Damon Harrison (knee) missed a second straight practice but Shurmur downplayed the significance, saying he could play even if he doesn’t practice at all this week . . . CB Eli Apple (groin) was limited, as were Barwin (knee) and CB Antonio Hamilton (groin) . . . The Giants may be without two key special-teamers as Cody Latimer (knee) did not practice and Stacy Coley (hamstring) was limited. That could open the door for Odell Beckham Jr. and Saquon Barkley to handle some punt and kickoff returns, respectively.

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