EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — The New York Giants couldn’t win with Odell Beckham Jr. in the lineup and now they face the prospect of playing the rest of the season without him.
And Beckham’s broken left ankle wasn’t the only injury for Giants receivers in their 27-22 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday.
Sterling Shepard and Brandon Marshall, who play with Beckham in the three-wide formations, didn’t play after spraining their left ankles on the same series in the second quarter. Receiver and returner Dwayne Harris broke a foot in the third quarter.
Giants spokesman Corey Rush confirmed after the game that Beckham had fractured his left ankle with four minutes remaining in the game. Although he said the injury ultimately may require surgery, he added that reports indicating Beckham was on his way to the operating room were inaccurate.
On their final drive, the Giants had to use tight ends Evan Engram and Rhett Ellison as wide receivers.
“It’s a tough situation when you lose four receivers in a game,” quarterback Eli Manning said. “I thought we did the best we could do. We had a scoring drive with a couple of them out. Without them, we had two receivers left. Evan Engram has played in the slot. So, we had to simplify the game plan a little bit.”
The injury seemingly will end what has been a tough season for Beckham, who had five catches for 97 yards, including a go-ahead 48-yard touchdown early in the fourth quarter.
He sprained his left ankle in a preseason game on Aug. 21, missed the season opener at Dallas and was limited against Detroit.
Beckham had 25 catches for 302 yards and three touchdowns this season. But he also had several crucial drops in losses. He did catch all the balls within his reach Sunday, however, including two 15-yard throws that set up Manning’s 29-yard touchdown toss to Roger Lewis, Jr. in the third quarter.
He also has had his share of trouble. After his score against Philadelphia two games ago, his celebratory rendition of a dog urinating earned him a league fine, a talking to from irate owner John Mara, and the wrath of the media.
It was immediately apparent that Beckham was seriously injured as soon as he hit the ground after leaping for Manning’s high throw. He lay for several minutes writhing, hand over face, before he was helped to the cart. He continued to grimace, foot in the air, as the cart drove him to the X-ray room.
Rookie running back Wayne Gallman said the sight of their top receiver on the ground didn’t deflate the offense’s emotions.
“If it does, we need to get past that,” Gallman said. “It’s all about the next play. Of course, we feel sorry for him. That’s our brother. But at the same time, we have to focus on the game.”
Still, the offense was hamstrung without Beckham, Shepard, Marshall, and Harris.
“I mean, it significantly altered the game,” coach Ben McAdoo said. “We had one receiver left at the end of the ballgame.”
The Giants may have to bring at least one, if not two, receivers up from the practice squad as partial replacements. Travis Rudolph, Ed Eagan, and Marquis Bundy are possibilities. Former Giants Victor Cruz is a free agent.
“It’s crazy,” guard Justin Pugh said.