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Pat Shurmur optimistic Sterling Shepard returns to face Cowboys

Sterling Shepard is escorted off the field after

Sterling Shepard is escorted off the field after a medical timeout at MetLife Stadium on Oct. 6. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

Pat Shurmur said he is optimistic that Giants wide receiver Sterling Shepard will be cleared from the concussion protocol in time to face the Cowboys on Monday night.

“I think he’s getting closer and closer,” Shurmur said. “We’ll just see what the week brings.”

Shepard has been out since he suffered his second concussion of the season just under a month ago against the Vikings. Because it was his second concussion in a short period of time, the Giants have been extra cautious about his return. Shepard has been symptom-free for several weeks but had been limited in practices. On Wednesday, though, he was a full participant in a contact workout, which is one of the last steps in the protocol.

Shurmur said Shepard will be examined by an independent neurologist later this week to receive final clearance.

“He’s making good progress,” Shurmur said. “It’s just a matter of time . . . We have an extra day because [the game] is Monday night.”

Notes & quotes: The trade deadline passed on Tuesday without any Giants being shipped out, but Shurmur downplayed the impact of that on the team. “We sort of live in the real world and guys just go about their business, come to work, and there are times when you just have to wait to hear what happens,” Shurmur said. As for the rumors, particularly about veteran CB Janoris Jenkins being traded, Shurmur said: “Year after year after year everyone is talking about Jackrabbit and he’s still here.” . . . Shurmur said CB Sam Beal is “making good progress.” The Giants designated him to return from injured reserve and can add him to the active roster at any point before next Wednesday. Shurmur said he could be activated before the Cowboys game . . .  CB Corey Ballentine (concussion) practiced with the team on Wednesday . . .  LB Tae Davis, waived by the Giants on Tuesday to make room on the roster for Leonard Williams, was claimed by the Browns.

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