Sterling Shepard takes encouraging steps toward Giants return

Sterling Shepard was on the field when Giants practice began Wednesday in the bright sunshine. He caught a few passes while getting loose with teammates and did a little skipping and dancing as he trotted off to the side to ride the stationary bicycle.

Later, Shepard did some light jogging on one field while the Giants were working on an adjacent field.

There are all positive signs for Shepard, the No. 1 receiver on the team. Shepard is in the concussion protocol and will be monitored closely all week. That he was able to do this much activity this early in the week is encouraging as far as the possibility he is cleared in time to play Sunday in the MetLife Stadium opener against the Bills.

“He’s a veteran presence — he’s a veteran, for us, believe it or not,’’ coach Pat Shurmur said. “He’s a tough, competitive guy. I’m not saying we’ve lost him. We’ll see what the week brings.’’

Sterling Shepard
Sterling Shepard on the stationary bike during Giants practiceCharles Wenzelberg/New York Post

It looked as if Shepard was hit in the helmet in the third quarter of the 35-17 loss to the Cowboys blocking on a run by Saquon Barkley. Shepard engaged with cornerback Byron Jones, fell to the ground and got up reaching for his head with his hands. He ended up playing 68 of the 69 offensive snaps and caught six passes for 42 yards.

“He’s a playmaker and a good player for us,’’ Eli Manning said. “We’ll see what happens. But we have other guys who can step up and make plays.’’

Right guard Kevin Zeitler came out of the game with a shoulder issue, but he said he is fine. He was able to participate in the first stages of practice on Wednesday.

“This isn’t medical jargon, I think he’ll be fine,’’ Shurmur said.

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