Sterling Shepard avoids PUP list as Giants trim roster

A move the Giants did not make on Tuesday could be the most significant of any of their transactions to cut the roster from 85 to 80 players. Wide receiver Sterling Shepard, coming off surgery to repair a torn left Achilles tendon, was not placed on the reserve/physically unable to perform list, keeping him in play to return early this season. 

All five moves by the Giants were injury related. Three players — tight ends Ricky Seals-Jones and rookie Andre Miller and rookie inside linebacker Darrian Beavers — were placed on the reserve/injured list, ending their seasons. Two players — offensive linemen Nick Gates and Matt Peart — were placed on the reserve/PUP list, meaning they must miss the first four weeks of the regular season. 

Shepard, 29, is the longest-tenured Giants player, arriving in 2016 as a second-round pick. He has had more than his share of physical issues, and his 2021 season ended in Week 15 when he tore his left Achilles tendon Dec. 19 against the Cowboys. Shepard played in just seven games last season due to a quad injury. 

Sterling Shepard participates in a practice at the Giants' training facility in East Rutherford, N.J., on June 8, 2022.
Sterling Shepard participates in a practice at the Giants’ training facility in June.

He has looked spry running on the sideline in camp, and the Giants believe he can make it back sometime within the first month of the regular season. 

Beavers, a sixth-round pick, had an impressive summer but tore his right ACL Sunday night against the Bengals. Miller hurt his forearm during a camp practice. Seals-Jones was signed to compete for a starting job, but he went down with a toe injury early in camp. 

Gates’ career trajectory took a nosedive on Sept. 16, 2021, when he suffered a broken tibia and fibula in Week 2 against Washington. 

His left leg got pinned under defensive lineman Daron Payne. Gates, 26, suffered a horrific injury — a broken tibia and fibula — and he needed several surgeries to repair all the damage. Before the injury, Gates was establishing himself as a solid NFL center, with the versatility to move back to guard, if necessary. 

Peart, 25, went down in Week 16 last season to a torn ACL. A 2020 third-round draft pick, Peart has ideal size — 6-foot-7, 318 pounds -—but he did not develop as expected, starting just two games his first two years. 

The Giants have to get down to the 53-player limit by Aug. 30. 

Rookie outside linebacker Kayvon Thibodeaux, expected to be out three to four weeks with a sprained MCL in his right knee, is seeking a second opinion, which is not uncommon. He is sending his report and MRI scan to Dr. James Andrews, noted orthopedic surgeon, for confirmation of the initial diagnosis. Thibodeaux was injured in Sunday night’s preseason victory over the Bengals, and the Giants feel he has a shot to play in the Sept. 11 season opener. 

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