EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – The Giants open their regular season three weeks from tonight in Dallas. Middle linebacker Jon Beason today expressed optimism that he will play in the game, despite spraining his knee last night in a 22-12 preseason victory over Jacksonville.
"I totally believe that I can and I have my mind made up," Beason said on a conference call. "I'll do everything I can humanly possible to make sure that that happens. And I don't want just straight on Sunday. I want to get back in time for preparation for that game."
Beason is officially listed as week to week. Tom Coughlin would love to have his defensive leader on the field for a big game against a division rival. But his many years of coaching have taught him that timetables for players recovering from knee sprains can be easily deleted.
"That is a tough one," Coughlin said. "These things are all different. For me, without some doctor or expert telling me what to think in terms of the amount of time out, I'm not going to speculate. But all these things end up being week to week and sometimes in these cases, it is longer than you think."
Asked if he will prepare as if Beason will not be available to face the Cowboys, Coughlin said, "I don't know. I'm not going to speculate on that probably until we see how this week goes and how the doctors have a chance to work with him a few days and maybe then they will have a better opinion about that."
Beason has experience coming back from a sprained knee and other injuries. He has played no more than four games in four of the last five seasons and has not played a full 16-game schedule since 2010, when he did it for the fourth consecutive year. In 2014, he was limited to four games because of a toe injury that eventually required surgery.
"Knee sprains are weird just because you've got a lot going on,' Beason said. "All the ligaments and cartilage and everything kind of works together, and when something is agitated the first thing you do is get it to calm down and get the inflammation out - that makes it feel a lot better - and then just keeping your strength. So (you find) ways of working your lower body without loading the joints, so that the inflammation can come down but you can stay strong. That's the most important part, so we'll start now.
"Is it a setback? Yeah, for sure, because I could be practicing. I could be playing in these games to come, but at the same time when you know that it's non-operable and it's just a matter of using the modality and using our training staff and whatever I have to do to get something better fast."
Beason's latest injury occurred in the first quarter last night.
"It happened when I banged my knee on the pass breakup in the end zone," Beason said. "I fell awkwardly on my knee and initially didn't feel anything, and then a few plays after it just felt a little unstable. I was able to finish the series, and then I had the doctors look at it. They were uncertain, but it didn't feel stable, so we went in and got a picture today and it is a knee sprain, but it's minor. Nothing too concerning in my book."
The Giants are counting on Beason to be a frequent tackler and a leader in the middle of Steve Spagnuolo's defense. Now he will likely miss the remainder of the preseason.
"The thing that's most frustrating is the reps in a new system - getting comfortable and getting my feet back under me," Beason said. "I felt like I was just starting to come into a zone where I felt comfortable in this scheme in terms of getting everybody lined up and trying to do my job at a high level and being active. But the other thing about it is that I've been down this road before and I know how to prepare without necessarily being on the field."
"With the new CBA, they take a lot off of us from a physical standpoint in terms of two-a-days," Beason added. "But mentally, we meet more than we ever did. We walk through more than we ever did. And those reps are so valuable to me. It's what I truly love to do. I just want to see it, and then when I do make mistakes I'm one of those guys where if I ever mess something up, believe that I won't do it again. So you have to kind of see it and make the mistake and learn from it. So I look forward to continue to take that step and I put more emphasis on watching film, meeting with my coaches, and still doing some walk through stuff that's not so physically demanding where I can recover but at the same time keep my mind sharp."
Five standout performers in the Giants second preseason game vs. Jaguars
Beason, a nine-year veteran, was replaced by Jameel McClain, an eight-year pro. McClain returned to the field last week after missing time with a neck injury. He started 14 games last season, including nine at middle linebacker. McClain has some familiarity with the defense, because Spagnuolo and he were together with the Baltimore Ravens in 2013.
"We do have the benefit of a guy that's played a lot of football and is very good in the huddle," Coughlin said. "(He) does all those things extremely well. So you hate to think in terms of anything that stretches your depth right at this point in time, but it's a reality in our league."
"Rehab is going to start right now," Beason said. "But I would assume that they're going to take some of the load off me right away just to see if we can't get it to calm down as fast as possible. And then you start to build back up."
For Beason and the Giants, the sooner the better.
Giants Injury Update
LB Jon Beason
Sprained knee, week to week
LB Mark Herzlich
Safety Bennett Jackson
Torn ACL (season)
LB Tony Johnson
Sprained knee, day to day[**