There was something missing at Giants practice on Wednesday.
A vibe. A spirit. An air of excitement. Dancing.
All of which seemingly can be attributed to Odell Beckham Jr.’s absence. The wide receiver who brings a buzz of electricity to everything he does was nestled away from the field, unplugged from the rest of the roster for the time being, treating an ankle sprain suffered in Monday night’s loss to the Browns.
It was a glimpse of what the Giants could be without him.
“You kind of don’t want to think about that,” cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie said of contemplating a Beckham-less team that also found itself without Brandon Marshall on Wednesday. “You don’t want to put your mind on that.”
Rodgers-Cromartie, though, said he did not have to think about it very long.
“As long as you see the guy walking around the locker room looking like there’s not a problem, you’re happy about that,” he said. “If he was somewhere lying on the table or something, that’d be different.”
Rodgers-Cromartie made it clear that Beckham falls into the first column. The star receiver apparently is not even wearing a boot during interactions with teammates behind closed doors. He’s also not brooding over his injury the way some Giants fans and fantasy team owners likely are stressing about his availability for opening day in Dallas.
“You never want to see a teammate go down, especially in a preseason game,” defensive end Olivier Vernon said. “Odell is in high spirits right now and we’re going to have him back.”
Added center Weston Richburg: “He’s kind of had some things like that before and he’s come back strongly. I think he’s going to be OK.”
Ben McAdoo provided few updates on Beckham’s status. He remains day to day.
McAdoo did, though, make it a point to say that his words in that regard are carefully chosen. That is why he is calling Beckham “day to day” and not “week to week.”
“A week is a long way away, right?” he said. “I like to take things day by day and see how he responds to treatment.”
The Giants have 17 of those days until they play the Cowboys Sept. 10.
McAdoo also gave a nod to his verbiage of choice regarding Beckham when briefly discussing Darius Powe, a second-year receiver who was waived/injured by the Giants Wednesday. His injury, McAdoo noted, was “not day to day.” A bad sign for Powe, but perhaps a good one for Beckham.
As for Wednesday, Marshall, who injured his shoulder Monday night, was standing on the sideline watching the workout. He almost certainly will not play Saturday night against his former team, the Jets. The Giants also had Tavarres King and Dwayne Harris on the injury report, but both of them were running on the side. That left a gaping hole in the starting receiver group.
Roger Lewis Jr. filled one of those spots while Sterling Shepard was outside in two-receiver sets. When the Giants practiced with three receivers, Shepard moved inside, where he usually plays, and undrafted rookie Travis Rudolph ran with the starters.
That lineup will be fine for Saturday, but it’s not what the Giants want to see on the field in Dallas in 2 1⁄2 weeks.
Speaking of Beckham, McAdoo said: “He’s got an ankle, he’s getting treatment, he’s doing what he can to get ready to go.”
The Giants continue to get ready, too. Getting used to life with Beckham on the sideline. Getting prepared for a scenario they seem hopeful they’ll avoid.