New York Giants Sterling Shepard
Tom Pennington/Getty Images

The New York Giants have taken the next step in regards to Sterling Shepard’s eventual return. Will he play Thursday night?

Sterling Shepard could indeed step back onto the game field this coming Thursday night against the Philadelphia Eagles.

According to Mike Garafolo of NFL Network, the New York Giants have activated the veteran wideout off injured reserve after designating him for return earlier this week. Shepard suffered a turf toe injury in the Week 2 loss to the Chicago Bears and was placed on injured reserve thereafter.

That doesn’t exactly mean he’ll play though. The Giants will still evaluate Shepard during pregame workouts to see if he’s healthy enough to take the field.

The Giants passing attack is significantly missing Shepard, having not found consistent success without him. Quarterback Daniel Jones has averaged a measly 175.5 passing yards per game through the four matchups in which Shepard has sat, compared to the 260.0 passing yards he averaged during the pair of games Sterling played.

While he may not be fully healthy, if Shepard were to play Thursday, he would help Jones and the Giants offense spread the field on passing downs. With the exception of Darius Slayton, Big Blue’s receivers haven’t exactly impressed this year, experiencing hardships when it comes to consistently gaining separation from the opposing defenders.

Shepard caught eight balls for 76 yards in the first two weeks prior to the injury that knocked him out of the Bears game. But regardless of his missed time, he’s still fourth on the team in receiving yards, further proving how below-average this passing attack has been.

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