Neither of the New York Giants return men — punt returner Richie James and kickoff returner Gary Brightwell — practiced on Wednesday. James has been battling a knee issue for the past couple of weeks, and Brightwell is ill.
That opens the possibility that practice squad wide receiver/kick returner Kalil Pimpleton, a rookie undrafted free agent who spent training camp with the Detroit Lions, might have to be elevated to handle those duties Sunday against the Washington Commanders.
Pimpleton averaged 19.0 yards on 16 punt returns with two touchdowns for Central Michigan last season. he averaged 11.8 yards per punt return in his college career. He only returned two kickoffs while in college.
With the Lions during the preseason, the 5-foot-9, 175-pound Pimpleton had one kickoff return for 30 yards and caught nine passes for 69 yards.
The three players who did not practice on Tuesday — cornerback Adoree’ Jackson (knee), guard Shane Lemieux (toe) and offensive lineman Joshua Ezeudu (neck) were again not participating in Wednesday’s practice.
Cornerback Cor’Dale Flott, who remains in the concussion protocol, was a limited participant.
Head coach Brian Daboll would not commit to any of the injured players the Giants hope to have back — edge Azeez Ojulari, right tackle Evan Neal, tight end Daniel Bellinger, guard Ben Bredeson — being ready for Sunday.
“I’m going to wait until the end and see how these guys are,” Daboll. “You get your hopes up that they’ll be ready and then they’re not ready. See if we can put another good day together.”
The Giants practice only one more time this week. They are off on Thursday and practiceon Friday, their last workout before Sunday’s game.
Daboll sounded optimistic about the return of Bellinger, the rookie tight end who has been out since suffering a fractured eye socket Week 7 against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Daboll said Bellinger “did practice well” on Tuesday.
The coach did not seem as optimistic about Bredeson, who suffered an MCL sprain against the Jaguars.
Daboll said Bredeson’s readiness to play against Washington is “yet to be determined.”
“Need a couple more days with him to decide what we’re going to do,” Daboll said.
If Bredeson isn’t ready, Nick Gates could start at left guard with Jon Feliciano, who missed last week’s game with a neck injury, returning to the center spot.