Giants RB Shane Vereen suffered a triceps injury that will keep him out for at least the next two months, and might turn out to be season-ending.
Vereen will need surgery, the team announced, and will likely be placed on injured reserve later this week. And while the team initially announced the injury as a "season-ending" one, several sources indicate the Giants have hope that Vereen can return in late November.
That's possible due to the NFL's short-term injured reserve rule, which was amended slightly this year. Teams no longer need to declare a player as being on short-term IR. They can simply reactive the player whenever he's eligible. Players can return to practice six weeks after they are placed on IR and play in a game eight weeks after.
The catch is teams can only activate one player off IR each season.
Vereen, if he's placed on IR this week, wouldn't be able to return until the Giants' game in Cleveland on Nov. 27.
Vereen apparently injured his triceps on Sunday, during the Giants' 29-27 loss to the Redskins. McAdoo didn't say exactly when his running back was hurt, but said he believes he played with the injury for a "significant amount of time."
With Vereen out, McAdoo noted the team would fill Vereen's role "by committee", which could be tricky since running back Rashad Jennings missed the Redskins game with a thumb injury and his status is murky for the game in Minnesota next Monday night. If Jennings is out too, the Giants will be left with Orleans Darkwa, who would be the likely starter, with veteran Bobby Rainey and possibly rookie Paul Perkins filling Vereen's third-down back and two-minute back role.
"Shane is a tremendous football player and our thoughts go to him with that tough injury," McAdoo said. "I feel for the player. He's a good football player. We wish him a speedy recovery."
The loss of Shane Vereen is a huge blow to the Giants because he was a significant and underrated piece of Ben McAdoo's offensive scheme.
He had a defined role as the third-down back and the back in the two-minute offense because he was more versatile than any back on the roster in terms of rushing, receiving and pass blocking. And the Giants didn't just look at him as a receiver out of the backfield, either. They saw him as a weapon who could -- and sometimes did -- line up as a receiver out wide. It's not that other backs can't do that, but Vereen is way more effective in that role than Rashad Jennings (who now would be even less effective with his injured "thumb"). And there's really no one else on the roster with his unique talent.
The Giants did sign Bobby Rainey, and somewhat surprisingly kept him after final cuts, and he does have a similar skill set. But he's nowhere near as accomplished at any of those duties as Vereen. He will presumably assume that role and he's shown some good explosion, but it's a downgrade, to be sure.
They also have rookie Paul Perkins, and again there's a similar skill set, but he's a rookie who is so raw he was inactive the first two games. He's mostly a special-teamer at the moment, but his progress as an offensive player might have to speed up in the coming weeks.
For now, though, it looks like Jennings or Orleans Darkwa will be the main back and Rainey will assume the Vereen role, though it's unclear if McAdoo will continue with those clearly defined roles in Vereen's absence. The best way to overcome for his loss might be for McAdoo to alter some of his offensive strategy, which understandably is something he probably doesn't want to do.