There is optimism for Odell Beckham Jr. in the locker room as the Giants edge closer to Monday Night Football:
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J.– Odell Beckham, Jr. said today the sprained ankle he suffered three weeks ago is improving, and he hopes to play in the Giants' home opener Monday night against the Detroit Lions.
"(The ankle feels) better than yesterday, for sure," Beckham said in his weekly post-practice give-and-take with reporters in the Giants' locker room. "It's been getting better over the past couple days. Probably the best I've felt yet. So, I'm going in the right direction."
Moments later, Beckham was asked point-blank if he will play Monday.
"I can't tell you that right now, but I'm trying my hardest, that's for sure," the three-time Pro Bowl receiver said. "It's not fun, it's really not fun. I don't think the people in the training room like me anymore after seeing me every day. It's not a place that you want to be. It's just really not."
Beckham, who did not play in the season-opening loss in Dallas on Sunday, was limited in practice today. "Just did routes – stuff like that," Beckham said. "Just kind of trying to get back acclimated. Did a lot of the mental reps at the end and not high, high speed, but got some reps at the end of practice."
"It's always good to have him out there," said fellow receiver Brandon Marshall. "He's a phenomenal player and he also brings a lot of energy in the meeting rooms and on the field. So, definitely good to have him out there."
In response to a question, coach Ben McAdoo said he was more optimistic than last week that Beckham might play in the upcoming game. "We got him out there," McAdoo said.
Prior to the Cowboys game, Beckham tested his ankle running routes while he was closely scrutinized by McAdoo, general manager Jerry Reese, strength and conditioning coach Aaron Wellman, and representatives of the team's medical staff. The Giants ultimately decided to place their most explosive offensive weapon on the inactive list.
"I really was trying my best at warmups," Beckham said. "I was trying to get out there and play, and even knowing I wasn't in the best position to play, there was still that temptation. It might have been gross for me to be like, 'You know what, I'm going to actually have to rest up and make a decision,' because everything in me was like, 'You know, we're here. Lights on. It's Dallas. I want to get out there bad.' But, you just have to be smart. It's a long season and that's one game. Unfortunately, we lost, but it's one game. You have 15 more to prove yourself.
"Honestly, I don't really know how realistic it was. As bad as I wanted to play, it just wasn't there. It had been three weeks. The injury hadn't even been a month since it happened. It's a six to eight week thing. Unfortunately, as much as I was trying my hardest to get out there, it just wasn't enough time."
Beckham conceded his belief that he might play emanated more from his desire to be on the field than the healing process.
"I want to play that bad," Beckham said. "It's going to be, again, what are you going to do? I really couldn't tell you at this moment. I'm working my best to get to 100, so once I do get there, there won't be any more problems. At the moment, we don't know. We're just kind of day-by-day. It's getting better. So we're going in the right direction."
While his status is undecided, what is certain is that Beckham has grown weary of rehabbing. As he learned in his rookie season, - when he missed the first four games with a hamstring strain – spending long hours in the training room is a poor substitute for being on the field.
"I personally don't want to get up at 6:30 every morning to get here for 7 o'clock treatment," Beckham said. "The days we have off, you're here at 10 o'clock for treatment. I go home and I do five, six hours of treatment. It's boring. It's not fun. Nobody wants to do that, and definitely don't want to work all offseason and everything to get to Dallas and have to sit there and watch. I'm itching to get back on the field. Definitely rather be on the field than the training room, I'll tell you that much. It's definitely not fun."
Playing football again would be. But a decision on Beckham's availability likely won't be made until the last possible moment Monday night.
View the best photos from Giants practice, presented by Hospital for Special Surgery