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Giants may have to 'use our gut' on Sterling Shepard's long-term health, Pat Shurmur says

Sterling Shepard still is having concussion symptoms and

Sterling Shepard still is having concussion symptoms and hasn't played since Week 5. Credit: e

Pat Shurmur would not say how long Sterling Shepard will be sidelined from the relapse of his second concussion of the season that has prompted a third stint in the league’s protocol for such injuries, but said at some point he and the Giants may have to “use our gut” about the wide receiver’s long-term health.

"This is a serious injury and in my mind it requires a serious response,” Shurmur said on a Tuesday conference call. “We’re going to make sure he’s well when he goes back out there.”

He almost did get back out there. Shepard was cleared by an independent neurologist on Friday and was preparing to play in the Giants’ game on Monday night. On Saturday night, though, he told the Giants he was not feeling well and on Sunday morning, when symptoms persisted, he was downgraded to out and returned to the protocol.

Because Shepard was cleared and re-entered the protocol, he has to go through the process from the beginning.

Shepard suffered his first concussion of the season in Week 1 against the Cowboys, missed a game in Week 2, and returned in Week 3. He suffered the second concussion in Week 5 and has not played since.

“We have to use good judgment and we have to be very deliberate about guys coming back from injuries such as this,” Shurmur said. “You watch them practice, you see how they respond to it, how they handle it the next day…I’m not concerned about it, I just think we have to be smart and be very observant in these situations and try to make good decisions because player safety is certainly on the front burner for us.”

One option is to end Shepard’s season and place him on injured reserve. The 2-7 Giants are not contending for any postseason opportunities, so it could be wise to shut him down and allow him to heal fully rather than risk more damage. Shurmur would not address that possibility directly.

“He’s in the protocol,” Shurmur said. “That’s all I know. We’ll take it from there.”

Notes & quotes: The Giants activated CB Sam Beal off injured reserve and waived S Sean Chandler...Shurmur said TE Evan Engram has “a little bit of a sore foot” that could impact his availability at practices this week.

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