When Sterling Shepard suffered his second concussion in three weeks during Oct. 6's 28-10 loss to the Minnesota Vikings, the Giants accepted the unfortunate reality that they would be without their top wide receiver for an extended amount of time.
However, before Sunday's 1 p.m. ET kickoff at Ford Field in Detroit against the Lions (2-3-1), Giants head coach Pat Shurmur expressed cautious optimism Wednesday about Shepard.
The Giants (2-5) might need to wait longer for their key playmaker's return as he remains in concussion protocol, but they saw him make progress with his limited status during practice.
"He's been out there practicing pretty much full," Shurmur said of Shepard, who sported a non-contact jersey. "But he's still in the protocol. That's kind of a unique answer to the question, but that's where he's at right now."
Shepard headlined the Giants' midweek injury report with star running back Saquon Barkley (ankle), who had lingering soreness from Sunday's 27-21 loss to the Arizona Cardinals and joined the wide receiver on the list of limited participants.
Rookie cornerback Corey Ballentine (concussion) did not practice, while linebacker second-year Lorenzo Carter (ankle) and veteran wide receiver Cody Latimer (quad) were full participants.
All except Ballentine and Shepard played against the Cardinals, and the Giants need any help they can get -- within reason -- with their losing streak of three games lingering.
"Obviously, (we are) buried in the preparation for Detroit," Shurmur said. "I think they're an outstanding football team. They know how to score points. They have really good, talented players on offense. They're very physical on defense. They challenge really upfront and in the back end, so we have to do a good job of challenging them and doing what we can to get the ball in the end zone.
"Then we have to get positive contributions from the special teams, like we have for most of the year, and try to eliminate the bad plays there. Even though we're playing the Lions, a lot of this comes down to it's all about us, making sure we play consistently physical and do all the right things."