New York Giants running back Rashad Jennings, who has missed the team's last four games with a knee sprain, is expecting to practice with the team Wednesday and return to game action Sunday against the 49ers.
"I think he will. I'm hoping that he will," Giants coach Tom Coughlin said on a conference call Monday. "He did have a good week of practice last week for what we asked him to do. He had a weekend to continue to rehab and strengthen. So he's worked hard at that, and I am going to say that we certainly do expect that he'll be ready at the end of this week. I can't tell you 100 percent, but I think he will. And if he is ready, then obviously he'll have a big share of the load."
Jennings was the Giants' clear No. 1 back during the first five games of this season and is likely to assume that role again upon his return. The Giants averaged 121 rushing yards per game in the first five games of the season and 157 during the three-game winning streak that immediately preceded Jennings' absence. In the four games he's missed, with the run game in the hands of rookie Andre Williams, the Giants are averaging 83.3 rushing yards per game and are 0-4.
"Rashad is a tremendous player and a guy we brought in this offseason to be the starting running back, and he was playing well for us early in the year," Giants quarterback Eli Manning said. "He runs the ball well, he has a great feel and does a good job in protection, he catches the ball well out of the backfield. I think Andre has done a heck of a job filling in and running hard, but it would be good to have that 1-2 punch."
The Giants might be looking to add another running back in addition to Jennings this week. Michael Cox broke his leg in Sunday's game in Seattle, and Peyton Hillis left that game early due to a concussion.