- Associated Press - Wednesday, September 6, 2017

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) - Three-time Pro Bowler Odell Beckham Jr. is itching to play in the New York Giants’ season opener against Dallas and just as uncertain whether his injured left ankle will allow him to face the rival Cowboys.

While the star receiver was back on the field stretching with his teammates for the first time since being hurt more than two weeks ago, the 24-year-old offensive catalyst was not able to practice Wednesday. He spent most of the time on the sideline working with trainers.

Coach Ben McAdoo said that Beckham needs to be cleared by medical personnel before he can play. He left open the option that the team’s leading receiver the past three seasons does not need to practice to play, provided he gets the clearance.

Beckham, who rode a stationary bike Monday at practice, didn’t appear to favor his ankle either during the calisthenics or when he jogged to stretch his legs in the warmup.

Beckham described his status as day to day, which is what McAdoo has said for weeks. He refused to say whether he has been dealing with a high ankle sprain, which usually takes more time to heal than a low ankle sprain.

“I feel better than I did yesterday and better than I did the day before,” Beckham said. “It’s progress.”

Teammates said it was good to see No. 13 on the field.

“Anytime 13 is out there, it’s good,” cornerback Eli Apple said.

Safety Landon Collins has seen Beckham smiling a little more lately, but that is no guarantee he will play.

“That’s our game changer,” Collins said. “He does great things, fantastic things. You get the ball in his hands and he can go for 60. It’s big. It will definitely feel a little different if he is not on the field.’

Beckham, who had 101 catches and 10 touchdowns last season, refused to count himself out of the nationally televised game, saying his heart is telling him to play.

“I’m just itching, itching,” he said. “This is what you love to do. Nobody ever wants to have that taken away from them, especially with the amount of work we have been putting in, the chemistry.

“We were just rolling. We were in a good place, but that’s life. You get setbacks and it’s how you come back from that and handle adversity.”

Beckham, who did not attend the Giants’ offseason workout, was having an outstanding training camp. It seemed every practice when the cheers went up from the fans in attendance it was Beckham making a play.

Beckham was hurt on Aug. 21 in a preseason game against Cleveland when he was hit around the knee by defensive back Briean Boddy-Calhoun after catching a pass. The impact flipped Beckham onto his side and his head bounced off the turf.

The hit was scary and many wondered about the severity of the injury after Beckham ripped off his helmet while on the ground.

Beckham eventually walked off the field, but he said he knew how badly he was hurt and what the injury was.

He stood on the sideline in the second half, but added the pain got worse the next two days.

Beckham said the hit was just part of the game, but he said he would have preferred to have been hit higher. However, he also said high hits risk fines and suspensions.

“I can’t really fault what happened,” Beckham said. “It is what it is. It’s life. You take it on the chin and keep moving.”

Beckham has not had his ankles tapes since high school and he said he would not play if he had to tape them.

He also was not worried about missing practice, saying all he was missing was some reps with quarterback Eli Manning.

“I have been throwing with Eli since I was a sophomore in high school,” Beckham said. “It’s been two weeks. Nothing is going to change. Yeah, I wish I could be practicing. I wish we could have routes on air, but it is what it is at this point. You just keep going with it. Whenever they clear, you can go.”

NOTES: G Justin Pugh said the homeless man who was stealing packages off his porch in Hoboken in recent weeks was arrested by Hudson County police. He said the man got $40 for suits worth $2,200. … LB Keenan Robinson (concussion) also did not practice. Everyone on the roster practiced.


For more NFL coverage: https://www.pro32.ap.org and https://www.twitter.com/AP_NFL

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