Sterling Shepard’s return from his second concussion of the season will take a little longer than expected.
The Giants announced on Sunday that the wide receiver will re-enter the concussion protocol and will not play against the Cowboys on Monday night after he complained of symptoms following Saturday’s full participation in practice.
Shepard had been cleared by an independent neurologist on Friday afternoon and was expected to play on Monday after missing three games.
“He practiced fully this week and was limited with no contact the two weeks before that,” Pat Shurmur said on Sunday. “He told Ronnie [Barnes, the Giants' senior VP medical services/head athletic trainer] last evening [Saturday] he didn’t feel well and was sent for examination and evaluation. When he arrived for work [Sunday] morning, he still did not feel well. At that point, the decision was made to continue in the concussion protocol.”
Shepard spoke with reporters on Saturday and said he was not worried about having two concussions within a month of each other — his first occurred on Sept. 8 against the Cowboys and the second on Oct. 6 against the Vikings — but he also vowed to be as forthcoming as possible with the medical staff upon his return.
“I mean, it’s scary getting two concussions, so I definitely will be honest on how I’m feeling and be honest with the trainers,” he said on Saturday.
The setback certainly raises questions about whether Shepard can — or should — return this season. He told Newsday last month that there were some in his life who had been suggesting that he walk away from football because of the second concussion. Those voices almost certainly will be amplified by this episode.
At the very least, Shepard’s downgrade for Monday means another week in which the Giants will not have their four main playmakers on the field at the same time. This was supposed to be the first game in which Shepard, Golden Tate, Saquon Barkley and Evan Engram all played together.
Shepard said he had been symptom-free since shortly after he suffered the concussion against the Vikings nearly a month ago. He was hoping to return sooner than Monday.
“Usually, with an ankle, you can feel it and if it’s not feeling good,” Shepard said on Saturday. “With the head, you can go a week feeling great and feeling 100 percent and not really being 100 percent. So you look at that and, yeah, it’s tough. It’s tough sitting out and feeling 100 percent, but you’ve got to listen to the doctors, and that’s what I did.”
And, apparently, what he will continue to do.