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Olivier Vernon's X-ray negative, may play in Giants' season opener

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. Credit: Daniel De Mato

Lorenzo Carter isn’t too worried about Olivier Vernon’s ankle injury.

“He’ll be back,” the rookie said confidently.

And if he’s not, well, Carter is fairly confident when it comes to that scenario too. Should the Giants’ main edge-rusher from the linebacker position have to miss time in the regular season, Carter said he’s prepared to step into a larger-than-expected role until Vernon does return.

“I’m ready,” Carter said on Monday. “It’s been a process, definitely, and it’ll be a progression even throughout the season, but I feel like I’m ready to go out there and play some football with my guys.”

The Giants did get some relatively good news regarding Vernon’s injury after he was carted off the field early in Sunday’s practice. X-rays showed no fracture. It’s being called a high-ankle injury (as opposed to a high ankle sprain) because there was more of a contusion than a twist. With two weeks to the opener, there’s still a chance Vernon will be ready for the Jaguars on Sept. 9.

If he’s not, the Giants will have to rely on Carter, Romeo Okwara, and Connor Barwin who returned to practice on Monday after several weeks of recovering from “soreness.”

“I tend to watch edge players so Romeo and obviously what Lorenzo’s been doing,” Pat Shurmur said on Monday. “They can crank up the pass rush.”

Chemistry major

As the Giants wrap up their preseason, Shurmur said he’s been looking for signs that the players are coming together as a team.

“We have done this long enough where we sort of remember when teams were close and it built the chemistry and then we’ve all coached in years where it was ehh . . . ,” Shurmur said. “I think I’m just looking for those indicators and I see a group of guys that really believes in themselves, they believe in each other. I like the path we’re on. We’ve still got a long way to go, but I like the direction that our team is heading.”

Giant steps

RB Saquon Barkley (hamstring) was a full participant in practice for the second straight day. “He had a good day,” Shurmur said. “Practiced well yesterday and today. He looked good” . . . TE Evan Engram (concussion) did some individual work on the side while wearing his helmet on Monday, a good sign that he should be ready to return in time for the opener . . . Monday was the Giants’ final fully-padded practice of the preseason as they’ll be in shells on Tuesday in preparation for Thursday’s fourth preseason game. Shurmur said he welcomed the heat for the occasion. “When you don’t have the padded practices [in the regular season] and the heat goes away we’re done with it so we took advantage of it today,” he said. “I thought the guys responded and we got a lot done.”

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