Odell Beckham Jr. is dancing once more. His appearance on the practice field on Thursday may cause New York Giants fans to do the same.
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Joining the Giants’ Thursday late morning into afternoon session was Beckham, who finally partook in activities other than stretching. After missing Sunday night’s offensive no-show in Arlington, Beckham worked with his teammates in individual drills and increased his footwork in the Giants’ first practice of the week. Sidelined since August 21 with an ankle injury suffered in a preseason game against Cleveland, it was easily Beckham’s busiest day since a low hit by Browns defensive back Briean Boddy-Calhoun forced him out of that exhibition.
“[The ankle has] been getting better over the past couple of days,” Beckham said after practice. “[This is] probably the best I’ve felt yet. So, I’m going in the right direction.”
Beckham was reluctant to put a number on his chances of playing Monday against the Detroit Lions (8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN), but continued to express a desire to take the field. The receiver stated several times he has grown tired of the incessant injury treatment, joking that the Giants’ training staff “doesn’t like (him) anymore”.
“I go home and I do five, six hours of treatment. It’s boring. It’s not fun,” he said. “I’m itching to get back on the field. (I’d) definitely rather be on the field than the training room, I’ll tell you that much. It’s definitely not fun.”
The superstar receiver was inactive for the Giants’ 19-3 opening loss to the Dallas Cowboys, despite taking a few catches in warmups prior to kickoff. On Thursday, however, Beckham admitted he felt his chances of taking the field against Dallas were slim.
“As bad as I wanted to play, it just wasn’t there,” Beckham said. “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.” Monday will mark the four-week anniversary of the injury.
While he briefly appeared on the practice field last week, Beckham was limited to stretching and working on the side. He mentioned was finally able to do routes on Thursday, as well as taking some mental reps at the end of the day.
“I’m trying my hardest, that’s for sure,” Beckham said when asked if he’ll play on Monday. “I’m looking forward to it. (It’s) Monday night football. I’m trying my best. It’s a primetime game. You want to be in it.”
Once questions about his Monday status were out of the way, Beckham confirmed his participation in a dance-off with NBA star Russell Westbrook. The showdown, first reported by Page Six, the renowned celebrity gossip section of the New York Post, took place at Catch NYC, a restaurant on Ninth Avenue celebrating its sixth anniversary.
“It was a full on dance battle,” Beckham explained. “We were in there break dancing. It was incredible to be able to do something like that with Russell. It was everything for me.”
Beckham didn’t comment if he had bested the reigning NBA MVP, though he did poke fun at the sensationalized coverage of the encounter with the Oklahoma City Thunder point guard.
“I know a dance battle looks good on a [headline]. It’s like, hey a dance battle,” Beckham said. “Everything is good. I know how stuff works now. You can’t really take it personally. It doesn’t bother me.”
Giants head coach Ben McAdoo was likewise mum on Beckham’s status, insisting six different times that the receiver was “limited” when pressed for an update during his Thursday availability. Asked if he was more optimistic that Beckham could play this week as compared to last, McAdoo did say that he was “more (optimistic) than last week”.
All quotes obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted.