As if injuries haven’t decimated the Giants enough, top offensive lineman Justin Pugh did not practice at all on Wednesday due to a back issue that began nagging him in Week 6 in Denver.
And if Pugh is unable to play on Sunday afternoon when the Giants (1-6) host the L.A. Rams (5-2) — and Pugh’s status is touch-and-go at this point — that would thrust Bobby Hart back into the starting right tackle spot. Hart has struggled in limited action this season when not sidelined by a bad ankle sprain sustained in Week 1 in Dallas.
It also would make the Giants’ sixth different starting offensive line in eight games, with starting center Weston Richburg (concussion) still not practicing and presumably out a fourth straight game.
Pugh started the season at left guard and moved to right tackle early in a Week 2 loss to Detroit to replace the then-injured Hart. Hart returned in Week 5 against the Chargers but struggled badly, and the Giants moved Pugh back out to right tackle for their first win in Denver, where his back first acted up.
Giants sign DE Jordan Williams off the practice squad
Pugh couldn’t make it through the Giants’ Week 7 loss to Seattle, leaving the game in the third quarter. He was here for Monday’s first light practice back from the bye but still seemed unsure of his Week 9 status.
“My back was locking up on me (in Week 7) so I went in and tried to get it to calm down. I couldn’t get it to calm down in the Seattle game,” Pugh said Monday. “It was bothering me going into it. So hopefully this week, it will be good. Having the week off was definitely helpful so (I’ll) just go from there.”
The Giants’ offense — of course already without Odell Beckham Jr. and Brandon Marshall the rest of the season — did get RB Paul Perkins (ribs) back to full practice participation on Wednesday, but slot receiver Sterling Shepard (ankle) was limited as he strives to play for the first time since his Week 5 injury.
Tight end Rhett Ellison was absent and not listed on the injury report but the Giants said he was not there due to a personal reason and that his wife is expecting.
Jenkins suspension more proof McAdoo has lost Giants locker room
The defense is also decimated, and not just because of top corner Janoris Jenkins’ suspension.
Defensive end Olivier Vernon (ankle) did not practice, only jogging, and looks destined to miss a fourth straight game. And defensive end Kerry Wynn (knee) didn’t participate either, doing light work on the side, which explains why the Giants re-signed free agent defensive end Devin Taylor on Tuesday and then signed defensive end Jordan Williams off their practice squad Wednesday.
Middle linebacker B.J. Goodson (ankle) did not participate. Outside linebacker Jonathan Casillas (neck) was limited but appears unlikely to play again. Backup middle linebacker Calvin Munson (quad) was limited. Defensive tackle Robert Thomas (calf) came up lame early in practice, and safety Nat Berhe was absent and not listed on the initial injury report but the Giants later said he had a calf injury.
Ellison’s and Berhe’s absences and exclusions from the initial injury report were noteworthy to monitor, though, considering the first time that happened three weeks ago with Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, it turned out he had left the facility and was suspended the following Sunday’s game.
The Giants also re-signed wide receiver Kalif Raymond to their practice squad one day after terminating his contract to make room for linebacker Trevor Bates.
Jerry Reese said last week that the Giants (1-6) have nine game remaining so “don’t count us yet.” But Vegas has counted the Giants out. Boy, have the bookies ever counted the Giants out.
From Bovada: The Giants are off the board on bets to win the NFC East; 200-to-1 to win the conference ahead of the one team off the board, the winless San Francisco 49ers; and 500-to-1 to win the Super Bowl, tied with the Jets and Indianapolis Colts ahead of the two teams off the board, the 49ers and winless Cleveland Browns.
Vegas also has an even-money line that a Rams tight end will score a touchdown against the Giants in Week 9, citing an NFL record eight consecutive weeks in which an opposing tight end has scored a TD against them.
That streak began with a Jordan Reed TD for Washington in Week 17 of last year and includes at least one TD by a TE in all seven of the Giants’ games this season. Tight ends have 41 catches for 501 yards and eight TDs against the Giants this season.
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