Giants practice Thursday without middle linebackers
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) When the New York Giants have talked about injured players being ready for the Dallas Cowboys, most of the discussion tends to focus on wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr.
The second-year playmaker has been bothered by a hamstring injury against the San Francisco 49ers on Oct. 11.
Despite practicing only once, he played almost every offensive down against the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday night, catching a touchdown.
Beckham is in the same situation with Dallas (2-3) coming to the Meadowlands on Sunday to face the Giants (3-3) in an NFC East showdown.
He has not practiced this week and Friday is a team maintenance day. He intends to work on Saturday and play Sunday.
The problem for the Giants is the less talked about injured players. Middle linebackers Jon Beason (knee) and Uani `Unga (shoulder) did not practice Thursday and outside linebackers Devon Kennard (hamstring) and Jonathan Casillas (neck) were limited. Their status is uncertain.
”It’s status quo for the defensive crew,” coordinator Steve Spagnuolo said. ”Things are normal. Nothing has changed. Look, everyone is going through that in the league. It’s that time of year. Game six. Guys are getting dinged up, banged up and sometimes you have to take some time off.”
Spagnuolo hopes everyone is ready for Sunday. The problem is players miss practice reps and that’s not good.
”What it does is it holds back on some things you might want to change, because you can’t change things if guys are not out there working on them,” Spagnuolo said. ”It affects us.”
Spagnuolo alternated `Unga, his leading tackler with 42, and Beason against the Eagles to keep players fresh against the quick tempo offense. He added having more guys play helps everyone feel like a part of the team.
After saying that his labrum injury was minor would be evaluated Saturday, `Unga insisted he would play.
”I’ll be playing Sunday unless somebody holds me out,” he said. ”I should be good to go.”
Beason was not in the locker room to discuss his knee. He hurt it in the preseason and missed the opening two games of the regular season, including the opener in Dallas.
”Jon Beason is a pro and a leader,” Spagnuolo said. ”He is a team guy. I love working with him. I’m glad we got him. Let’s get him out there and let him roll.”
Beckham, who had seven catches for 61 yards against the Eagles – all in the first half – also expects to be ready.
”We’re going to be all right,” he said. ”Like I said, game plan is for Sunday, make sure you stay in the reps, the book, and know what you need to do, know your assignment.”
After losing to Dallas in the season opener, Beckham knows the importance of this game.
”This is definitely a must-win for us,” Beckham said. ”So you want to come out fired up and you put your best foot forward.”
NOTES: Offensive tackle Will Beatty, who tore a chest muscle in the offseason and was on the physically unable to perform list, is back at work. The Giants have three weeks to decide whether to activate him. … Spagnuolo wasn’t hard on Damontre Moore for his roughing the passer penalty against the Eagles, saying his hustle and motor have helped the Giants this season. … DE Robert Ayers Jr. is making progress from his hamstring injury and may play for the first time in five weeks.
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