This Isn't a Broken Thumb | Why the Giants Should Shut Down Sterling Shepard

Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports
Patricia Traina

It doesn’t take a brainiac to conclude that Giants wide receiver Sterling Shepard should be shut down for the rest of the 2019 season.

Shepard, who is back int he league’s protocol after initially being cleared last Friday, has in the past made no secret of wanting to get out there and be with his teammates, win or lose and with little regard for his body.

For proof of that, look no further than the summer when Shepard broke the tip of his thumb early in training camp. 

Where he could have comfortably sat on the side and waited for the injury to heal itself, he insisted on going out there to practice with his teammates so that he could not only be a leader but also be ready for the start of the 2019 season.

While Shepard was supposed to protect that thumb from potential trauma, there he was, catching balls and, on at least a couple of occasions. At times despite the yellow “no contact jersey” being on his back, he even engaged in contact, even though he wasn’t supposed to.

At the time, nothing bad happened to Shepard, that is until Week 1 of the season when the NFL’s system failed him miserably by not recognizing that he was dinged after taking a hit and calling for his removal from the game. 

Shepard missed the following week after being diagnosed with a concussion but returned for Week 3 and seemed good to go.

That is, until he suffered his second concussion two weeks later, one that has kept him off the field four weeks and counting.

Shepard, whom on Wednesday the Giants sent to Pittsburgh to meet with a specialist, was back Thursday. 

“It was a good visit. We just got more information. So we’ll just have to see,” Shurmur said about Shepard’s Pittsburgh consultation. “He’s in the (concussion) protocol, probably won’t be any activity this week, and we’ll just move forward from there.”

Yet there he was, in full pads, participating in the team’s pre-practice warmups before heading to the side with a trainer to do some running.

No one will accuse Shepard of being soft or wanting to milk an injury for all he can. 

But it’s that very same competitive spirit that the Giant sneed to protect the receiver from, and they can do so by shutting the young man down for the rest of what’s become another lost season.

This isn’t an ankle. This isn’t a thumb. This is Shepard’s brain. He’s going to have his days where he feels good--and let’s hope he has a lot of them.

But he also had days where he felt good only to be struck down again by the return of the symptoms, which is why he’s back in the protocol.

Is it worth toying with his emotions, giving him the hope that by being out there and showing the trainers that he can do everything without and setbacks as he tries to inch his way back to engaging in contact worth it?

"We know the game of football, this organization, his teammates are very, very important to him, and he is one of the ultimate competitors in the NFL," said receiver Golden Tate. 

"It’s very unfortunate that he’s still dealing with the concussion, but that’s something you do not want to play with. You can kind of wing an ankle or other injuries, but when it comes to your brain, you only have one of those, and the picture outside of football is way more important."

Indeed. And with Shepard having suffered two concussions in such a short period, to allow him to have that hope of being able to return, to even think about putting him out there at risk is not smart. 

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Comments (3)
No. 1-3

Head injuries are no joke and he has had multiple concussions. If they allow him to play this year the medical staff should be fired



I have advocated this for a long time. You are 100% correct.


Agreed. The team isn't going anywhere. He's better off shutting it down until next year.