Giants defensive captain Jon Beason, who is listed as doubtful with a left knee injury, would like to work his way back into the lineup on a limited basis against Atlanta on Sunday at MetLife Stadium. But if he tries to play, the Giants risk not having him against NFC East foe Washington on Thursday night at MetLife.

So the short week coming up might be a determining factor in whether Beason plays against the Falcons or waits a few more days for the Redskins, and the veteran linebacker is not pleased about that.

"For me personally, you decide to throw another football game into a week, it shows they [NFL management] don't really care about the players," Beason said Friday. "You can tell them I said so. I don't care."

Beason practiced on a limited basis Thursday and said he felt good Friday when the Giants had what they term a "recovery" day. Coach Tom Coughlin hasn't decided yet, but he said if Beason plays, "I think it would be a good shot in the arm. Players, not unanimously but wholeheartedly voted him captain. It would be a definite plus for us."

The lack of practice reps concerns Beason, who worries he won't be as sharp after not practicing in pads recently.

"If there's some situational stuff where I can step in and be used sparingly, that would be great," Beason said. "God forbid we have to play 80 snaps. I'm not ready for that."

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Beason's absence at middle linebacker was glaring in the Giants' opening 27-26 loss at Dallas. The television commentators blamed his first-year replacement, Uani' Unga, for playing too deep on the Cowboys' winning touchdown pass to tight end Jason Witten with seven seconds left instead of defending the goal line.

"There was more going on than what they said," Beason said of the defense the Giants were in. "I never want to receive a compliment at the expense of my teammate. I thought Uani' played outstanding."

But ultimately, the Giants are more secure on defense if Beason plays. Asked if he believes players are more vulnerable to injury when forced to play on a short week, Beason wasn't prepared to go that far.

"It's about money," Beason said. "The game is growing. Fans want to see football, and I get it. I just know that, from a player's standpoint, it's extremely tough to play in a Thursday night game. Your body is beat up, especially when you play a late Sunday game. It's an advantage for the next team."

Notes & quotes. Listed as out for the Giants are WR Victor Cruz (calf), TE Daniel Fells (foot), DT Markus Kuhn (knee) and DE Owa Odighizuwa (foot). Coughlin said first-year TE Jerome Cunningham will make his NFL debut against Atlanta . . . Falcons WR Devin Hester (toe) is out, but WR Julio Jones (hamstring) is probable.