HOUSTON — Evan Engram sprained the MCL in his right knee and is going to miss time.
The Giants simply don’t know how much.
Engram, 24, the Giants’ top pass-catching tight end, was fortunate enough to dodge a season-ending injury on the helmet-to-knee hit by Texans DB Kareem Jackson in Sunday’s second quarter.
But he was still being listed as week-to-week early Monday, which would sideline him at least this next Sunday against the New Orleans Saints, as the Giants awaited further information on its exact severity and a timetable.
“We’re waiting to see how extensive it might be, that’s all,” said Shurmur, who confirmed the MCL sprain diagnosis first reported by ESPN.
Rhett Ellison, who caught a touchdown pass in Houston, and Scott Simonson are the only two healthy tight ends on the roster at the moment. The Giants could promote undrafted rookie Garrett Dickerson (Northwestern) from the practice squad.
Engram has struggled as a blocker early this season and dropped a couple passes in the opener but has 10 catches for 104 yards and a touchdown and is a big part of the Giants’ passing attack.
RB Saquon Barkley, who also took Jackson’s helmet to the right knee in the first quarter, is “sore” but “OK,” Shurmur said. The coach said he didn’t have a problem with Jackson’s hits.
DT Damon Harrison, who limped off late in Sunday’s game, is experiencing “normal wear and tear” but Shurmur said “I think Damon’s gonna be fine.”
Shurmur had no new information on OLB Olivier Vernon (high left ankle sprain, day-to-day) and CB Eli Apple (groin) other than sharing he had just seen both players “running” on the fields outside the coach’s office.
Of Vernon, who has missed all three games to start the season, Shurmur said: “(He’s) better. I just happened to see him running around outside my window here, so we’ll just have to see. We’ll consider him day-to-day and see how far he can come with it. He’s making progress, he hasn’t had any setbacks. We just don’t know with these high ankle sprains. They take time.”
Kerry Wynn was mostly a backup lineman through his first four NFL seasons, but Shurmur and D-coordinator James Bettcher love Wynn’s energy and toughness, and he rewarded them in Sunday’s start with a dynamic individual performance. Shurmur, normally reserved in criticism or praise, raved about Wynn on Monday.
“I thought Kerry was outstanding,” Shurmur said of Wynn, who logged 41 snaps on defense after playing only 20 in Dallas in Week 2. “He had five tackles, he had one special teams tackle, he had two assists, he forced a fumble, he had a pass breakup, one quarterback hit, and one quarterback pressure. I mentioned that Eli (Manning) had a pretty good day at the office. That’s a pretty darn good day at the office, as well.
Shurmur wasn’t done.
“Kerry is long, he’s kind of a relentless player, he’s tough, he’s all the things you’re looking for,” Shurmur added. “He’s tough, he cares, he works, and he finds a way to make plays. That certainly was an outstanding performance on his part.”
Wynn, 27, a former undrafted free agent out of Richmond, said he likes Bettcher’s defense because it’s “a very attacking defense, very aggressive, and D-linemen love that. Me personally, I try to make sure I’m always around the ball. When you’re around the ball, good things happen.”
Wynn, who forced a Lamar Miller fumble recovered by Donte Deayon in the second half, said that turnover and Alec Ogletree’s interception weren’t necessarily plays motivated by desperation. But he acknowledged the defese was “hungry to get that first win.”
“The first two games we had done a lot of great things but a lot of areas we had kept us from winning games and made us an almost team,” Wynn said. “So we wanted to get over that hump and finish it out.”
JOHN ON THE SPOT
Center John Greco played extremely well in his first start in place of Jon Halapio, who had season-ending surgery last week to repair fractures in his lower right leg and right ankle.
Shurmur agreed that Greco’s experience playing for Shurmur in both St. Louis and Cleveland in the past benefitted the offense Sunday with his understanding of what’s expected.
“I think so,” Shurmur said. “I think there’s no substitute for experience. Especially as an offensive lineman, the been-there-done-that idea I think is hugely important. And that’s why veteran players especially on the offensive line can have an impact, especially if they come in in a backup role or filling in for an injured player. So yeah, I think that had something to do with it.”
Left tackle Nate Solder said Greco “did an excellent job. I thought that his communication was very clear and he understands the offense as well as anybody.” Solder, though, wasn’t patting himself or anyone on the line on the back, either, with the Saints coming to town on Sunday.