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Sterling Shepard out with a concussion, leaving Giants thin at wide receiver

Giants wide receiver Sterling Shepard, shown here during

Giants wide receiver Sterling Shepard, shown here during a preseason game Aug. 16, 2019, was not quite able to get all the way through concussion protocol this week and will sit out Sunday's game against Buffalo.   Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

The Giants could be without two of their top receivers Sunday. If that isn’t enough bad news, they are hosting the Buffalo Bills, who allowed the fewest passing yards in the NFL last season.

The Giants’ injury report Friday listed Sterling Shepard as out with a concussion. Cody Latimer, who had three catches for 74 yards in the season-opening loss to the Cowboys, is questionable with a calf injury. Wide receiver Darius Slayton (hamstring) and tight end Garrett Dickerson (quadriceps) also are out.

The Giants already were missing wide receiver Golden Tate, who is serving a four-game suspension for violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancing substances.

Shepard had six catches against the Cowboys before suffering the concussion near the end of the game. He has been in concussion protocol all week but did some limited work with the team Friday.

“He just couldn’t quite make it back,” coach Pat Shurmur said. “He’s getting better . . . Just ran out of time this week.”

Bennie Fowler, Russell Shepard, Cody Core and T.J. Jones are the only healthy wide receivers. Suffice it to say it is not the most experienced or prolific group. Not one of the four has reached 400 yards in a season. Fowler did have a decent game against Dallas, however, catching five passes for 40 yards.

Shurmur declined to say what kind of adjustments the Giants will make, saying that what they do will “reveal itself.”

“You play with the players you have, and anybody you put out there, you expect them to make plays,” he said. “We don’t recalibrate the expectations. We expect them to go out and play well and help us win a game.”

The thin receiving corps means the Giants likely will look to tight end Evan Engram again in the passing game. Engram had a career-high 11 catches and 116 yards in the opener.

They also could further involve running back Saquon Barkley, who had only 15 touches, including four receptions, against Dallas.

Latimer, who injured his calf Wednesday, sounds determined to get back on the field. He ran Friday and is expected to be a game-time decision.

“I think I’m good to go,” he said. “We’ll see before the game when I start running around, move around, and make a decision then. There’s a little pressure [to play] because you don’t want to let your boys down .  .  . but your body is your temple and it’s all about longevity. It’s coach’s call, trainer’s call. I’ll tell them if I’m ready to go, and they’ll make the decision.”

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