Rashad Jennings will be back Sunday, but not all the way back, according to Tom Coughlin.
"I don't intend for him to carry a full load," he said on Thursday after Jennings participated in a second straight practice. He's missed the last four games, all losses, with a sprained MCL.
Jennings was the main ball-carrier for the Giants in the first five games with 91 carries, including 34 against the Texans, when he ran for 176 yards. He also caught 11 passes. According to Coughlin, Jennings and rookie Andre Williams, who had been starting in his place, will share the work Sunday. That might help Williams, too. His two most productive games came when he was Jennings' backup.
Of course, Coughlin made similar remarks about Andre Brown not carrying a full load last year when he returned from a broken leg against the Raiders. Brown wound up with 30 carries and 115 yards in his first game back.
Aldon's back, too
Another player expected to return to action is 49ers linebacker Aldon Smith, who was suspended the first nine games of the season. He had 42 sacks through his first three seasons, and although the 49ers have been downplaying his expected role, the Giants are preparing as if he will be at full speed and full strength against them.
"You're expecting him to be at the top of his game, ready to go," left tackle Will Beatty said. "I know that I'm going to have to bring my 'A' game . . . It would do me no justice not to expect him to be full-tilt, ready to go, hyped-up, fresh legs. He's going to get the best from me because I'm expecting the best from him."
With primary kickoff returner Michael Cox on injured reserve, the job will revert to Quintin Demps, who handled those duties early in the season . . . Defensive coordinator Perry Fewell said he expects to continue splitting time between Demps and Stevie Brown at safety as he did against the Seahawks . . . DT Cullen Jenkins did not practice with swelling in his calf . . . LB Jacquian Williams and RB Peyton Hillis, both suffering concussions, did not practice and likely will be unavailable . . . The Giants have until Monday to decide whether to activate G Geoff Schwartz (toe) off short-term injured reserve. Coughlin said he is progressing and a decision could be made by the weekend.