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Tight end Evan Engram “unlikely” to play against the Patriots with sprained MCL

The Giants’ already-long injury list continues to grow

NFL: Minnesota Vikings at New York Giants Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Giants’ ever-expanding list of injuries added another victim on Tuesday.

Per ESPN’s Adam Schefter, is it a possibility that tight end Evan Engram will also be sidelined for Thursday night’s game against the New England Patriots with a sprained MCL. Schefter tweeted this morning, “It’ll be a challenge for Engram to play at NE.”

Engram also suffered from an MCL injury in the beginning of the 2018 season. He missed more time in November with a hamstring issue. He made 11 total appearances last season, recording 45 receptions for 577 yards and three touchdowns. Through just five games this season, Engram is on pace for a career year with his 33 receptions and 373 yards.

Tight ends Rhett Ellison, Garrett Dickerson and Kaden Smith are next on the depth chart behind Engram and could see some additional time Thursday night if Engram is absent. In his eight-year career, Ellison has 107 receptions for 1,068 yards.

The Giants receiving core was already thin as wide receiver Sterling Shepard is in concussion protocol, his second of the season, and therefore unable to play Thursday. Rookie quarterback Daniel Jones will look to veteran wide receiver Golden Tate, who just returned to the Giants lineup last week after serving his suspension. Tate posted three catches for 13 yards in his season debut.

Wide receivers Bennie Fowler and TJ Jones were released last week when the Giants added Tate to the roster. One could be re-signed in preparation for Thursday to try to add some much-needed depth.

Though he appears to be making fast improvements in practice, star running back Saquon Barkley (high ankle sprain) is unlikely to play against the Patriots. Running back Wayne Gallman suffered from a concussion early in Sunday’s game against the Vikings, ruling him out for Thursday’s matchup.

Both Barkley and Engram were on the field Tuesday during the opening portion of practice, which is open to media.

Fullback Elijhaa Penny could see increased time at the running back position. Penny contributed 15 yards on three carries in Sunday’s loss to the Vikings. In his three-year career, Penny has 46 attempts for 179 yards with 13 receptions and 97 receiving yards.

“You always run in the trenches, and you get tackled by more than like three guys every play,” Penny said yesterday. “So when I’m in a meeting, I’m not just learning fullback. You have to add value to yourself to play longer.”

Head coach Pat Shurmur also expressed interest in Penny stepping up at the running back position.

“If you ask him, he’ll tell you that he’s a converted halfback,” Shurmur said. “He plays fullback, but he’s like, ‘Hey coach, give me the ball.’ I thought he stepped in and did some good things.”

Shurmur is trying to downplay the injury list.

“We do everything each week to adjust to the players that we have on the field. We try to do the things that they do best and give them the best chance to compete against the team we’re playing against,” he said. “This game will be no different.”

Linebacker Tae Davis (concussion) was a full participant on Monday and appears ready to return. Linebacker Alec Ogletree (hamstring) was limited.

As far as the ever-growing list of injuries, head coach Pat Shurmur said that it is something every team has to go through from time to time. He is facing some added pressure though because the short week gives the Giants less time to call up potential players.

“Every team has to deal with one of those short weeks,” Shurmur said on Monday. “We’ll do the best we can to get as many players back as quickly as possible so that they are able to play Thursday.”

Tuesday injury report

Did Not Participate

TE Evan Engram Knee
RB Wayne Gallman Concussion
WR Sterling Shepard Concussion

Limited Participation

RB Saquon Barkley Ankle
LB Lorenzo Carter Neck
LB Alec Ogletree Hamstring
T Nate Solder Ankle
LB Josiah Tauaefa Knee

Full Participation

LB Tae Davis Concussion