EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. --New York Giants running back Shane Vereen returned to practice Wednesday for the first time since tearing his left triceps in a Week 3 loss to the Washington Redskins.
The hope is that Vereen, currently on injured reserve, can return for the matchup with the Dallas Cowboys at MetLife Stadium on Dec. 11, which could be for first place in the NFC East.
"That would be great," Vereen said. "Division opponent. To play against Dallas nonetheless, that would be awesome. Like I said, it's kind of out of my hands. It's up to the progression, up to the doctors. Hopefully."
The Giants (8-3) now have 21 days to activate Vereen or his season ends.
"He looks like he's in good condition and caught the ball well," coach Ben McAdoo said.
With New York's offense sputtering most of the season, Vereen should be a welcome addition for the Giants' difficult stretch run. Their opponents over the final five weeks have a combined 34-20-1 record.
The Giants play Sunday on the road against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Vereen is not expected to be ready for that game, even though he's trending in the right direction.
"Physically I feel good," he said. "If it was just up to how I felt like that, I would've been back. But there is a lot that goes into it and we've got to be smart."
Among the primary factors tied into getting clearance for a game is proving there is enough strength in his left arm to play and handle contact.
Vereen, 27, is tied for second on the Giants in rushing despite missing the past eight games. He has 147 yards on 31 carries and leads the team with 4.7 yards per carry.
The veteran running back has been missed, particularly as a capable receiver out of the backfield. He caught a career-high 59 passes out of the backfield last season.
The Giants originally tried to replace the versatile Vereen with Bobby Rainey. That didn't work out. Starter Rashad Jennings and rookie Paul Perkins have primarily split the running back reps in recent weeks.
Giants hope RB Shane Vereen (torn triceps) can return vs. Cowboys