Despite being listed as limited in practice this week, wide receiver Sterling Shepard says he plans on playing against Tampa Bay on Monday night.
“I feel pretty good,” Shepard said. “I'm going to give it a go this week. I'm just listening to everything the trainers are saying right now. I'm going to have to deal with it, but I'm listening to them and what they say.”
The “it” is a turf toe injury which kept Shepard out of four consecutive games prior to his Week 7 return against the Eagles. He didn’t miss a beat against Philadelphia, hauling in six catches for 59 yards and a touchdown in Big Blue’s 22-21 loss last Thursday.
Shepard said he didn’t spend too much time away from the team during his injury, which allowed him to step right in and make an impact.
“They had been having me in meetings during the time I was out, so I was able to stay in tune with everything and the different changes that we made,” Shepard said. “That really helped me out.
Shepard sustained the injury in Week 2 against the Bears on what looked like a simple tackle after a catch.
“It was pretty frustrating just based on the way it happened,” Shepard said. “I've been tackled like that hundreds of times, it just so happened my foot was in an awkward position. But that's the way the game goes, so you just take your lumps and keep pushing forward. I tried not to take the situation too negatively and just take time to learn about the offense to see what I needed to do when I got back.”
Shepard also noted just how painful the injury itself was, and that it’s the type of injury that can render a wide receiver essentially useless.
“I didn't know much about it at all, but anybody who has had it will tell you it's nothing to play with,” Shepard said. “If you don't have your big toe, especially for a skill position guy, it's hard to get your job done in any way, shape or form. It's one of the more frustrating injuries I've had, but I've come a long way and I thank the trainers for that.”
“One thing I’ll say for Sterling, he’s a tough dude,” head coach Joe Judge said. “He’s very strong-willed and he wants to play. He’ll give himself every opportunity to get out there and play.”