New York Giants optimistic WRs Sterling Shepard, Kadarius Toney will play Monday night

ByJordan Raanan ESPN logo
Saturday, October 30, 2021

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The New York Giants should get two of their four best playmakers back this week with wide receiversSterling Shepard and Kadarius Toney looking good for Monday Night Football against the Kansas City Chiefs.

The news was not so encouraging for running back Saquon Barkley (ankle) and wide receiver Kenny Golladay (knee). They were ruled out for Monday night.

Shepard (hamstring) and Toney (ankle) were officially listed as questionable, but there is optimism that both will play. Shepard said earlier in the week he was "super confident" that he would be ready.

Toney was a limited participant in practice Friday and Saturday. He seemed to be moving well and is trending toward playing against the Chiefs, barring a setback.

"It was positive," coach Joe Judge said of his rookie wide receiver's return to the practice field Friday.

Toney aggravated an ankle injury three weeks ago against the Dallas Cowboys. His return would be a huge boost for the Giants offense, which played last week without its four top playmakers.

A dynamic first-round pick, Toney had 19 catches for 303 yards in the previous nine quarters before aggravating the injury.

"It's day by day," Toney said after Friday's practice. "Listen to the trainers. We'll see when it's game time."

Shepard was a late scratch last week after his hamstring didn't respond well to a pregame test. He had tweaked the hamstring earlier that week in practice, in addition to missing two games this season with an injury to his other hamstring.

Barkley and Golladay will miss their third straight games. Neither practiced at all this week, even if they were seen for the first time working with trainers.

Neither appeared to get that close to making it back this week. Barkley was seen jogging slowly (forward only) while the rest of his teammates backpedaled and did lateral-movement exercises during the stretching period in practice.

Still, they have made progress.

"Kind of trending in a good direction," Judge said. "If it's not this week, we'll see how it goes in the near future."

The Giants will also be without outside linebacker Lorenzo Carter (ankle), special-teams ace Nate Ebner (ankle) and linebacker Carter Coughlin (ankle) for Monday night. They were all officially ruled out for the contest.

Tight end Kaden Smith (knee) is questionable.