The Giants’ top two draft picks both left their first preseason game with injuries, but neither is causing terrible alarms within the organization. Ben McAdoo said he thought both the knee strain to first-round cornerback Eli Apple and the groin discomfort of second-round receiver Sterling Shepard were “not serious.”
The players echoed that relief in interviews following the 27-10 loss to the Dolphins on Friday night.
“I just tweaked it a little bit on special teams, punt return,” Apple said. “I just got a little bit off balance and was trying to hold up the guy I was blocking. But I’m feeling fine. I’m not concerned.”
“It’s just sore,” Shepard said. “It’s nothing serious at all.”
Before they left the game, both rookies made impactful plays. Apple came up and made a tackle against Kenny Stills to stop a third-down conversion attempt on the opening drive, holding the Dolphins to a 7-yard gain on third-and-9. Shepard caught a 24-yard pass that helped set up the Giants’ only touchdown of the game.
Apple admitted that he was nervous when he first felt his injury since he had never before hurt his knee. He was checked out by doctors and allowed to return to the sideline with his teammates (he did not return to the field).
Of course, given the Giants’ injury history in recent years, there was plenty of external hand-wringing when the announcement of the two injuries was made.
“I can see that happening, especially with Eli out, us both out,” Shepard said. “But it’s nothing too serious. People freak out, but it’s no big deal.”