Giants’ Sterling Shepard placed on injured reserve due to toe injury ahead of 49ers game


The slate of Week 2 games around the NFL were ravaged by the injury bug, and it made sure to take a huge bite out of the New York Giants offense while it was making its rounds. The team lost all-world running back Saquon Barkley to a torn ACL, ending his season, and as devastating as that news is — he’s not the only star offensive player who went down with injury. The team also saw wide receiver Sterling Shepard go down, and now they’ll have to figure out who’ll become Daniel Jones‘ top target when they host the San Francisco 49ers in Week 3. 

Shepard is battling through turf toe suffered in the 17-13 loss to the Chicago Bears. The severity of the injury is unknown, but considering how nagging the injury itself has been known to be, it’s no surprise the Giants are being extra cautious. And to that end, they’ve moved him to injured reserve — the team announced Wednesday — preventing him from returning to the field for at least three weeks. 

His roster spot is filled by the signing of running back Devonta Freeman, who was brought in following the loss of Barkley.

Without Barkley and Shepard, a struggling Giants offense stands to be much more so beginning this Sunday. The club was able to woo Freeman away from the rival Philadelphia Eagles on a one-year deal worth upwards of $3 million, presumably filling at least some of the void created by the loss of Barkley, but it’s to be determined if Freeman has the same juice as when he owned the league in 2015 en route to becoming the highest-paid running back in NFL history. And even if he does, offensive coordinator Jason Garrett wasn’t exactly blowing the doors off with Barkley, so it’s not a foregone conclusion the addition of Freeman will yield different results — at least not right out of the gate.

And while Shepard hasn’t broken out yet this season, much due to the same aforementioned offensive struggles, he’s the definitive No. 1 wideout, as evidenced by the Giants awarding him a four-year, $41 million contract extension with $21.3 million guaranteed in 2019. Not having him on the field will instantly impact a passing attack that can’t seem to find its bearings through two weeks of football, but what might help the Giants is the fact the 49ers are in even more dire straits after an injury-filled Week 2.

Both All-Pro pass rusher Nick Bosa and fellow defensive lineman Solomon Thomas are out for the season with torn left ACLs, and Pro Bowl edge rusher Dee Ford is out indefinitely with a back injury. 

The Niners also lost running backs Raheem Mostert and Tevin Coleman to a sprained MCL and an undisclosed knee injury on Sunday, respectively, and All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman is currently sitting on injured reserve with a calf issue. On the offensive side of the ball, the biggest scare came when Jimmy Garoppolo suffered a high ankle sprain, currently listed as day-to-day as the 49ers ready to return to a MetLife Stadium turf players and coaches have complained to the league’s front office about — one week after defeating the New York Jets but losing several top players.

This will be a battle to see which team can adjust the best. Without Barkley and Shepard, the Giants will have to find other ways to take advantage of an ailing 49ers defense, and one that is itself going against a battered and bruised New York offense.





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