The New York Giants could receive some much-needed help when they face the winless San Francisco 49ers at Levi’s Stadium in the form of players returning from injury.
Defensive ends Olivier Vernon (ankle) and Kerry Wynn (knee), linebacker Jonathan Casillas (neck), and offensive lineman Justin Pugh were limited participants in Wednesday’s practice. Cornerback Janoris Jenkins also returned to the practice field after serving a one-game suspension.
Pugh did not play in the Week 9 loss to the Los Angeles Rams but expects to be ready against San Francisco.
“Yeah, every intention I have is playing,” Pugh said. “Barring a setback, I’ll be out there on Sunday.”
Vernon hadn’t missed a game in his NFL career before suffering a high ankle sprain in the Week 4 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He hasn’t played since, missing the past four games. Casillas, the defensive captain, has missed the past three games while Wynn missed the Rams loss after he was injured in the Week 7 loss to the Seattle Seahawks.
Vernon’s return is questionable. Casillas returned to non-contact practices last week and is optimistic that he will play against San Francisco.
“If I can go (Thursday), which I plan on doing, and I make it out OK, I’m playing Sunday,” Casillas said.
The Giants allowed the Rams to score on eight of their first nine possessions, en route to a 51-17 blowout. The loss was the third-worst home loss in franchise history. The defense would get a major boost if Vernon, Wynn, Casillas, and Jenkins are on the field.
It doesn’t mean the Giants’ defensive woes will be immediately corrected. Linebackers B.J. Goodson (ankle), Devon Kennard (quad), and Keenan Robinson (quad) didn’t practice Wednesday.
Pugh has been the Giants’ best offensive lineman this season. His return will help an offense that has struggled to score the ball this season, averaging only 16 points this season.