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Giants’ Andrew Thomas practices lightly but unlikely to face Jets

So, how was he feeling?

What were Andrew Thomas’ emotions Wednesday afternoon after he participated in at least a small portion of practice for the first time in six weeks?

Was he excited? Encouraged? Optimistic?

“Honestly, just trying to stay level-headed, because if it feels great and my emotions are high then I’m gonna be feeling great and then if it’s not I’m gonna be down,’’ Thomas said. “Just try to stay level-headed and just roll with the punches.’’

Staying level-headed is the easy part for the 24-year-old left tackle, who is as level-headed as any player you will find in a locker room.

The Giants are on a one-game winning streak and can make something of their season if they find a way to beat the Jets on Sunday.

Getting reinforcements back for their offensive line would go a long way toward achieving that goal, and that Thomas and rookie center John Michael Schmitz at midweek were back where they belong — somewhat — is a step in the right direction.

Giants offensive tackle Andrew Thomas talks to reporters on Wednesday.
Charles Wenzelberg/New York Post

“You just want to be out there for your team, just want to be out there to help and just compete with your brothers out there,’’ Schmitz told The Post. “Not being able to do that, it’s tough being on the sidelines.’’

Thomas and Schmitz were both listed as limited participants in practice, a positive development for two players itching to get back.

It might happen with Schmitz, who has missed the past three games with a shoulder injury.

Despite the progress he has made, it likely will not happen this week with Thomas, who has been out since suffering a strained hamstring in the season-opening loss to the Cowboys.

Thomas and right tackle Evan Neal — who missed last week’s 14-7 victory over the Commanders with a sprained ankle — were off to the side early in practice as the other offensive linemen were going through drills.

At one point, Thomas and Neal had their legs tethered together as they went through stretching exercises.

“First time I put on the helmet in a while, so that was a good feeling,’’ Thomas said. “Continue to stress it and see how it responds.’’

Thomas, one of the elite players at his position in the league, said he was told by the trainers that they wanted him to “mimic’’ what he would normally do in practice to get a sense how much stress his hamstring could take.

The Giants thought Thomas would be able to play in the Week 4 game against the Seahawks, but he suffered a setback in practice.

After that, it has been slow-sledding for Thomas.

“They also want to limit and not just cut me loose, because there’s a chance you can make it worse,’’ Thomas said. “We only have a few opportunities that are guaranteed each season, and I’ve missed quite a few of them. It doesn’t feel good, but I can’t change that.’’

The Giants want to get to the point where Thomas returns to left tackle, allowing Justin Pugh, 33, to move inside to left guard, where he is more comfortable, after filling in the past two games at left tackle.

“He’s the leader of the offensive line,’’ Pugh said of Thomas. “To have a guy like that back will reenergize everybody. We’re on the horizon of getting some bodies back.’’

Schmitz seems closer to that horizon.

Asked about his involvement in practice, he said, “I did it all,” and he certainly sounded more confident than Thomas about possibly returning this weekend.

John Michael Schmitz, who has missed the past three games with a shoulder injury, practiced fully on Wednesday.
Charles Wenzelberg/New York Post

“Was happy to be back with the guys up front, just looking to build on what we have going,’’ Schmitz said. “It’s just how I feel, the trainers will examine it and make a decision.’’

If Schmitz is able to play, Ben Bredeson shifts over to his more natural spot at guard, which should strengthen an operation that has been makeshift for most of the season.

This is not a good week for makeshift with the Jets up next.

Their defensive line is vaunted even if it has not yet kicked in gear, as far as dropping opposing quarterbacks.

The Jets are tied for 28th in the NFL in team sacks with 13, and 4.5 of the sacks have come from linebackers Quincy Williams and Bryce Huff.

As far as the big guys up front, Quinton Jefferson has three sacks, Jermaine Johnson has two sacks and Quinnen Williams has one half-sack.

If Thomas sits again, it will be Pugh at left tackle and either Neal or Tyre Phillips at right tackle.

“It’s not easy, what they’ve been asked to do, all the injuries that we’ve had, all the switching positions, it’s not easy to overcome,’’ Thomas said.

It would be easier with Thomas on the field.

But it looks like that will have to wait another week.