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Back problem sidelines Justin Pugh and might end his season

An MRI taken Wednesday could determine the offensive lineman’s near future.

Giants guard Justin Pugh lines up during the

Giants guard Justin Pugh lines up during the first half of a preseason game at MetLife Stadium on Aug 26, 2017. Photo Credit: Daniel De Mato

Justin Pugh is coming to grips with the reality that he may not play again this season.

“There’s obviously a timeline because there are only four weeks left in the season,” the offensive lineman said Thursday, a day after he tried to practice with the team but could not finish the workout without his back acting up. “We’ve kind of backed off a little bit and see if we can get it going next week.”

That decision also will have input from the MRI he had on his back after Wednesday’s practice. Pugh said he felt great at the start of the day, but late in the practice he was unable to complete the final period or work.

With rookie Chad Wheeler sidelined by a concussion, the Giants may be starting Bobby Hart at right tackle against the Cowboys and Demarcus Lawrence (league-leading 13.5 sacks).

Heading into an offseason in which he will be a free agent, might Pugh be better served by shutting it down and getting healthy for 2018?

“I don’t want to,” he said. “(But) I don’t want to make it even worse. It’s not at a point now where I have to get surgery or anything like that, and I don’t want it to get to that point.”

Settling in

Interim coach Steve Spagnuolo spoke Wednesday about the frantic 60 hours between the firing of Ben McAdoo and the team’s first practice. On Thursday, 84 hours after the big decision, things were much calmer as the team got into more of a football rhythm.

“I can’t even explain it, it’s such a difficult thing to go through because there are emotions and there are people involved,” Spagnuolo said. “We’re trying to move forward and I think the guys have functioned pretty well.”

Giant steps

CB Eli Apple missed a second straight practice with a hip injury that now includes his back and groin, Spagnuolo said. “It just doesn’t feel right right now, so it’s a day-to-day thing,” Spagnuolo said . . . WR Sterling Shepard (hamstring) was limited to non-contact participation Thursday, but Spagnuolo said he is “headed in a positive direction” toward Sunday’s game . . . DE Jason Pierre-Paul has not practiced this week after injuring his already damaged right hand against Oakland. “We don’t want to stick that in there,” Spagnuolo said of avoiding contact with the area, “but we’re hopeful that he’ll be able to go.” Pierre-Paul’s hand has been heavily wrapped all week.

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