Tagged in: sterling shepard

New York Giants lose top receiver Sterling Shepard to torn ACL

New York Giants wide receiver Sterling Shepard suffered a torn ACL in his left knee in Monday night’s game versus the Dallas Cowboys, coach Brian Daboll stated Tuesday.

The injury will end his season and perhaps his time with the Giants. Shepard, the longest-tenured player on the team, is in the final year of a restructured deal he signed this offseason off a torn left Achilles.

“He’s a tremendous person. He’s worked so diligently to get back,” Daboll said. “Feel so terrible for him that he’s had that injury. Big part of our team. Going to miss him out on that field.”

The Giants plan to look internally for Kadarius Toney (hamstring), Wan’Dale Robinson (knee) and the struggling Kenny Golladay to fill the void. Shepard was serving as the team’s No. 1 receiver.

The noncontact injury happened in the final minutes of New York’s 23-16 loss to Dallas. It came on a seemingly innocuous play where Shepard was simply jogging near the right sideline when he crumbled to the ground. “I’m thinking the same thing as you watch it. He’s just slowing down,” Daboll said.

“It could have happened, I’m not saying it happened, but you see a couple plays before where he kind of turns when he’s running an in-cut and he’s extended. But he went out there on the next play and did something. Again, kind of looked like a freaky accident there.”

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This latest odd injury to Shepard only exacerbates the turf vs. grass debate.

“I know there have been a lot of studies. Not just here but probably in every stadium,” Daboll said on Tuesday. “I think, again, you look at Shep’s injury, he was jogging. I’m sure throughout the season and the offseason we’ll sit down and discuss those types of things.”

The turf at MetLife Stadium in particular has been the subject of some complaints in the past, including by the San Francisco 49ers after five players suffered game-ending lower-body injuries in the same game versus the New York Jets during the 2020 season. The knee injuries suffered by Nick Bosa and Solomon Thomas were season-ending.

Most recently, the Baltimore Ravens weren’t happy after cornerback Kyle Fuller tore an ACL there in a game versus the Jets in Week 1.

“Everybody in this league should do everything they can to put the best surface out there. How much is invested in the players who go out there and play, and our league really is a player-driven league, and we want those guys to have the best of the best, especially surfaces to play on,” coach John Harbaugh said.

Harbaugh added about the MetLife field surface: “That turf was matted down, it was packed down, it was a little tight. Maybe that’s how it’s supposed to be. I don’t know, but that’s what I saw. It was a little tough.”

The Ravens will play again at MetLife Stadium this season in Week 6 when they face the Giants.

The injury had Shepard’s close friend and former teammate Odell Beckham Jr. expressing his disgust with stadiums using turf over grass.

“Billions made off this game I can’t understand why we can’t play on grass,” he tweeted, also offering prayers for Shepard.

Shepard was cleared to practice late this summer after tearing his left Achilles last December. He leads the Giants with 154 receiving yards through three matches. He has also played the most snaps (157) of all the team’s receivers.

The injury occurred on the Giants’ final offensive play Monday night. The result of the play was essentially a game-ending interception by Dallas’ Trevon Diggs. Shepard limped onto the cart and players from both teams came over to offer words of encouragement. The Giants (2-1) move forward now hoping to get either Toney or Robinson back this week. Both missed Monday night’s game due to injury.

Robinson, the Giants’ second-round pick in the 2022 draft out of Kentucky, was injured in the opener versus the Tennessee Titans. Toney, their first-round pick in 2021 out of Florida, recently aggravated the hamstring that plagued him this summer.

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New York Giants lose promising WR Collin Johnson to torn Achilles

The New York Giants lost wide receiver Collin Johnson for the season Wednesday on the same day that veteran Sterling Shepard returned to the practice field.

Johnson tore his Achilles tendon during Wednesday’s practice, per the team. The big receiver (6-foot-6, 220 pounds) out of the University of Texas had been receiving first-team reps in recent weeks at practice with Kadarius Toney and Shepard among those on the sideline.

Coach Brian Daboll had noted earlier in the week that Johnson and fellow wide receiver David Sills were making a strong impression. Johnson started Sunday’s preseason victory over the Cincinnati Bengals and had three receptions for 41 yards; Sills had five catches for 56 yards, with most of the damage coming with the first-string offense.

“Collin Johnson, David Sills, they’ve stepped their game up,” Daboll said. “And they’re right in the mix, not just to make a team but to play.”

The Giants’ opener is in 18 days in Tennessee. Toney (right leg), C.J. Board (ribs) and Darius Slayton are also dealing with minor injuries.

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Shepard, meanwhile, was making his way back from a torn Achilles suffered last December. He returned to practice for the first time Wednesday since the injury.

“It felt great, man,” said Shepard, who snuck in some reps during live drills and even caught a 20-yard pass from backup quarterback Tyrod Taylor. “Just being back on the field, it’s a blessing. Especially when you go through an injury like that and you’ve been on the sidelines for so long watching those guys get after it. You have to take every day and cherish them because you never know when you’re going to have to sit out that long.”

It had been eight months and five days since Shepard tore his Achilles.

He is the longest-tenured Giant and has 349 catches for 3,884 yards and 21 touchdowns in his career, all in New York.

Shepard’s return made it appear as if the Giants were actually getting healthier at the position. Toney, Board and Slayton participated in the early portions of Wednesday’s practice.

But Toney was seen grabbing at the back of his leg during the workout, and Johnson and Marcus Kemp (hamstring) suffered significant injuries. Both Johnson and Kemp landed on injured reserve later in the day.

The Giants claimed wide receivers Bailey Gaither and Jaylon Moore on Wednesday to fill the voids. They cut tight end Jordan Akins to make room on the roster.

Johnson, 24, has 29 catches for 377 yards in 26 career matches with the Jacksonville Jaguars and Giants. He made his mark with the Giants last year as a blocker.

But this summer it appeared he had taken his game to the next level. He was making plays consistently throughout training camp, earning him the trust of starting quarterback Daniel Jones and some first-team reps. Johnson even had 10 catches for 123 receiving yards in the first two preseason matches this season.

With Toney still banged up and Shepard coming back from a serious injury, it looked possible that Johnson could have started — or at least played a substantial role — Week 1 versus the Tennessee Titans. Instead his season came to a premature end.

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