For a little while, no one really knew what was going on.
One minute Sterling Shepard, the second-year receiver for the Giants, was running a route in one-on-one drills early in Wednesday’s practice and the next he was on the ground with his right leg being looked at by trainers and eventually carted off the field.
Even as the rest of the players came into the locker room after the conclusion of the workout, there still was a ripple of fear among them over what had happened.
“I shot him a quick text and let him know I was praying for him and thinking about him,” fellow wide receiver Tavarres King said shortly after practice, noting he had yet to receive a response. “Hopefully Shep is OK and he gets back in a hurry.”
It sounds as if that will be the case.
“It looks at this point like he has a rolled ankle, a basketball-type ankle, but we’ll see how he responds to treatment,” Ben McAdoo said. “At this point it just looks like he has a sprained ankle.”
McAdoo would not describe it as a high or low ankle sprain. High ankle sprains typically take about six weeks to heal, which would put Shepard’s return at roughly the start of the regular season. His description of a basketball-type ankle roll, however, could indicate a low sprain. In that case, Shepard likely would be back on the field at least practicing by the middle of the preseason.
McAdoo said the injury happened when Shepard planted his foot on a route. The cart, he said, was largely a precaution and a way to get Shepard back to the training room as quickly as possible.
Shepard figures to be a key player in the Giants’ offense this season, lining up on the inside with Odell Beckham Jr. and Brandon Marshall outside. The Giants used a few players in Shepard’s spot once he left the field, including rookie first-round pick Evan Engram and veteran Dwayne Harris. They also moved Beckham into the slot and lined King up on the outside.
“We have to practice football to get better at football,” McAdoo said of the risks that take place on the field each day. “When someone goes down the next man stands up and we work as hard as we can behind the scenes to get the player healthy.”