Sterling Shepard’s 2021 season ended early when he tore his left Achilles tendon in a December game against the Dallas Cowboys.
On Monday – again against the Cowboys – Shepard appeared to suffer another significant injury. In the final snap of the Giants game, Shepard stopped on a road and grabbed his left knee. He was untouched by the game. He fell to the ground in obvious pain and eventually left the field on a cart.
The Giants did not provide a diagnosis after the 23-16 loss. But head coach Brian Daboll admitted that “It didn’t look good.” If this is a season-ending injury, it marks another brutal blow for one of the franchise’s most beloved players.
Prior to his Achilles tear, Shepard’s 2020 campaign was limited to seven games due to injury. Now his comeback appears to be cut short to just three games after working to be ready for Week 1. His contract expires after agreeing to waive the final year of his contract.
Shepard has played his entire six-plus-season career in New York since the Giants selected him in the second round of the 2016 draft. He’s been there long enough actually played in a playoff game in a Giants uniform. He is admired throughout the league. As soon as he got on the cart, players from both teams approached him to pay their respects.
After the game, Giants players spoke about the injury and how important Shepard was to the team.
“It’s really hard to see that for sure,” quarterback Daniel Jones said. “A guy who works so hard, who recovered from an injury last year. I feel for him as a teammate, a close friend. Yeah, it’s hard to see.”
Fellow receiver Kenny Golladay told reporters that seeing Shepard go down “choked me.”
“He’s my brother,” Golladay said. “I know everything he did to start playing again. He was ready in Week 1. He just comes with a lot of energy on the sidelines, in training, in the whole boardroom.
“It hurt me when I saw him fall like that grabbing a knee. It still hurts – it almost choked me a bit to be totally honest. Just because I know – I developed a relationship with him, and I know how much he’s actually invested in and how much he actually cares.”
Left tackle Andrew Thomas called the injury “heartbreaking”.
Daboll, who just completed his third game as Giants coach, told reporters: “I feel really bad for this guy.”
The Giants expect to hear more about the injury Tuesday after testing.