Weatherford practices, expects to play for Giants on Sunday vs. Cardinals

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EAST RUTHERFORD, New Jersey — Torn ligaments in his left ankle seemingly aren't going to prevent Steve Weatherford from punting for the New York Giants.

Weatherford returned to practice on a limited basis on Friday and believes he will play in the home opener against the Arizona Cardinals at MetLife Stadium on Sunday. He has been listed as questionable on the injury report.

The nine-year veteran was injured on the final play of the first quarter on Monday night when Jerome Couplin of the Lions landed on his ankle while attempting to block a punt. The injury looked serious at first glance and Weatherford missed practice on Wednesday and Thursday. He punted 25 times Friday and was satisfied with how the ankle felt.

Barring swelling over the next 48 hours, he will appear in his 50th straight game for the Giants (0-1).

"I felt like I punted well enough to play Sunday," Weatherford said. "I felt consistent. I felt stable. I felt strong, but we'll see how it feels tomorrow. You never know. You might wake up with it swollen, but I don't see that happening because it's been 90 minutes since I kicked and I don't have any swelling. You would expect some of that to come on now, but I feel great."

Weatherford was impressive at the start of practice, booming a punt from midfield toward the end zone with great hang time. He directional punts to the corners of the end zone were just as good.

"The kid is an animal," long snapper Zak DeOssie said. "He could have one leg and he still would go out there. He did really well today and obviously we want him out there."

Coach Tom Coughlin had said that kicker Josh Brown would be the emergency punter for Sunday's game, but the Giants had at least four players work out Friday in case Weatherford could not play.

The only thing Weatherford said he might have trouble doing was running down a return man.

"He looked like normal," Brown said. "After he got loose he was able to hit the ball as well as he always has."

Brown smiled when asked if he was disappointed not having a dual role this weekend.

"Unfortunately no one will get to see that raw talent at work," he quipped sarcastically.

NOTES: WR Odell Beckham (hamstring), DT Markus Kuhn, OT James Brewer (back) and LB Devon Kennard (hamstring) were ruled out for the game. MLB Jon Beason returned to practice Friday and was listed as probable along with DE Jason Pierre-Paul (neck), OT Charles Brown (shoulder) and DT Cullen Jenkins (hip). Pierre-Paul did not practice Friday.


AP NFL website: http://www.pro32.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP_NFL

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