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Veteran receiver Sterling Shepard (turf toe) hasn’t played since the New York Giants’ Week 2 loss to the Chicago Bears.

Coming off their inaugural victory of the 2020 campaign, the New York Giants possess a legitimate opportunity to make some noise in the NFC East against the Eagles on Thursday. And luckily for them, there’s the possibility they could have one of their top receivers healthy and back on the field.

In a Monday press conference, head coach Joe Judge said that wideout Sterling Shepard is “a little closer” to returning, per Paul Schwartz of the New York Post. Judge additionally mentioned that a decision could be made in warmups on Thursday night.

Shepard suffered a turf toe injury during the team’s Week 2 loss in Chicago and has been on injured reserve since. He’s yet to be designated for a return despite the fact that he was eligible prior to the Week 6 win over Washington.

Once the Giants designate Shepard to return to the field, they’ll possess a 21-day window to activate him. If an activation doesn’t occur within that three-week period, the fifth-year receiver would then return to injured reserve for the remainder of the season.

Thus, the Giants need to be careful about when they commence the 21-day period — they don’t want to start it too early and then miss their opportunity to activate him.

Having Shepard healthy and back on the field would be huge for the Giants this coming Thursday night. Sterling would provide an extra passing-game target against an Eagles secondary allowing 229.7 passing yards per game (12th in the NFL).

Ryan Honey is a staff writer and host of the Wide Right Podcast.