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Justin Pugh optimistic about returning for Cowboys game

Justin Pugh #67 of the New York Giants

Justin Pugh #67 of the New York Giants is helped off the field after an injury against the Philadelphia Eagles at MetLife Stadium on Sunday, Nov. 6, 2016. Credit: Jim McIsaac

While most of the headlines and emphasis were on the loss of a defensive starter in Jason Pierre-Paul on Wednesday, the Giants offense could be getting two key contributors back to face the Cowboys on Sunday.

Guard Justin Pugh continues to make progress in his return from an MCL knee sprain and running back Shane Vereen, who remains on injured reserve, could be cleared to return to the 53-man roster before the Saturday 4 p.m. deadline to play in the upcoming game.

“My knee is feeling great, so I have all intentions of going out and playing on Sunday,” Pugh said. “We just have to make sure that we are taking the right steps and like I keep saying, I feel like a broken record, making sure that we don’t have any setbacks. But every day I am feeling good, so it’s solid.”

Pugh has not played since Nov. 6 against the Eagles when he left in the first quarter of the game. He tried to come back to face the Browns on Nov. 27 but suffered a setback in practice that week. He was limited in Wednesday’s practice and said Thursday’s workout — which is expected to be in shoulder pads — will be key to his return.

“That will be the closest to game action since getting hurt,” he said, “so we will see.”

As for Vereen, Ben McAdoo said his availability will be a medical decision.

“There’s a chance that we may have a package for Shane if he’s ready to go,” McAdoo said. “If he’s not, then there won’t be.”

It may come down to the Giants’ Saturday morning practice to determine Vereen’s status.

“There’s a chance Saturday that we can make a decision,” McAdoo said.

As for other Giants injuries, safety Nat Berhe (concussion), defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins (quad) and wide receiver/kick returner Dwayne Harris (ankle) did not practice on Wednesday along with Pierre-Paul. Linebacker Mark Herzlich (concussion) was limited to non-contact participation. Defensive end Owa Odighizuwa (knee) was limited.

New York Sports