NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — His troublesome hamstrings have now officially taken center stage.
The Giants had their first practice of the regular season on Monday at the team’s facility in East Rutherford, N.J., and prized first-round pick Odell Beckham Jr. was watching from the sidelines.
Get used to that scenario.
The talented wide receiver missed most of training camp and did not play in a single preseason game due to injury, something that frustrated both him and head coach Tom Coughlin.
Coughlin told reporters it might be a while before Beckham is healthy enough to practice, let alone play in a game.
“I doubt that very much,” Coughlin said, when asked if he expected Beckham to participate this week. “He may be a couple, three weeks away.
“Let’s let the kid get better. Focus on players who will play,” he added.
Compounding the problem has been the Giants’ struggles to adapt to new offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo’s West Coast offense. And with the season opener in Detroit now just a week away, the Giants literally need every last player doing their best to get on the same page in a system that has been difficult to master.
The Giants went 5-0 during the preseason, but their first-team offense scored just one touchdown.
Quarterback Eli Manning’s problems have been well documented. He’s only recently started to get back in sync with top receiver Victor Cruz and is really just beginning to scratch the surface of what is possible with young veterans Rueben Randle and Jerrel Jernigan, and rookies Corey Washington and Preston Parker.
Beckham said he’s not going to harp on the injury.
“I’m frustrated that I can’t play, but not so much frustrated with what I’m dealing with,” Beckham told reporters after practice. “It happened, and you have to embrace it and understand you have to do what’s best for your body. Hurting yourself is hurting your team.”
The good news for Big Blue was linebacker Jon Beason and cornerback Prince Amukamara returned to the practice field Monday.
“I felt good. Guys told me I looked really fast out there. Obviously I should with fresh legs,” Beason said.
Beason said getting used to the physicality of the game will take some time. He has not hit anyone since last season.
“I think that they trust that I am going to be there,” Beason said. “Obviously there are going to be smart. It is like anything: You always have to prove yourself. I don’t care if you are Eli (Manning) in your 10th or 11th year or you are a rookie. You have to go out and prove yourself every single day, and I think my teammates respect the way I go about my business, and I think the coaches do, too. Nevertheless, I still have to go out there and do it. By the end of the week, I think they will feel pretty confident that I can go out and contribute on whatever level they deem OK.”
Beason made an immediate impact after joining the Giants last season, but the 29-year-old middle linebacker had been sidelined since breaking a bone in his right foot and incurring ligament damage in June.
“We need him. Everybody knows we need him,” defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul told reporters. “We were 0-6 and then we started winning when we had him at middle linebacker. You see it. That’s how you know we need him.”
Amukamara, who figures to play a big role in Big Blue’s revamped secondary, had been dealing with a groin injury.
At this point, both look good to play against the Lions next Monday night.
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