The New York Giants pulled off their third-straight victory to take sole possession of first-place in the NFC East Sunday, but it also proved costly to their wide receiver corps. Quarterback Eli Manning hit leaping tight end Larry Donnell in the back of the end zone for the game-winning score in Week 5’s 30-27 nail-biter over San Francisco, and the Giants are now 3-2 after coughing up two 10-point leads the first two weeks of the season.
But New York also lost Pro Bowl receiver Odell Beckham Jr. and No. 2 wide out Rueben Randle during the win to hamstring injuries. Beckham scored his third touchdown of the season late in the third quarter against San Francisco, but was absent for most of the final period before returning late.
Randle also went down and didn’t return, but told reporters after the game that he would have re-entered had Donnell not made his sensational grab.
Both players underwent MRIs on Monday, and their status for Week 6’s critical matchup against the Philadelphia Eagles is unclear.
"I'm hoping that we can get Odell and Rueben, at least on a limited basis, for the entire rest of the week," Coughlin said Monday a conference call with reporters. "I know that's [optimistic], but I hope we can do that. We'll see how fast they respond."
The Giants will be particularly careful with No. 1 option Beckham, not only because of his importance to the offense as a dynamic playmaker, but also due to his injury history. Last year, Beckham missed the first four games of his rookie campaign due to a hamstring injury. Thus far he leads the Giants with 31 receptions for 428 yards and makes up for a rushing attack averaging 91.2 yards per game, No. 26 in the NFL.
Randle’s role was expanded last season after Victor Cruz went down with a torn patella tendon, and he’s kept that role this season with 19 receptions for 217 yards and two touchdowns.
However, New York might not be as worried about Randle’s durability. He’s yet to miss a game since entering the league in 2012.
Should neither play, the Giants receiving corps will be quite threadbare. Manning will have to target five-year pro Dwayne Harris, second-year wide out Myles White, or rookie Geremy Davis. Harris has made 11 receptions for 123 yards and a touchdown this season, while Davis has only two catches for 21 yards. White has appeared in one game this season, and couldn’t make a reception off four targets.
Coughlin does have the option of tapping the practice squad. New York has Tavarres King and Julian Talley available for a call-up, but neither’s appeared in a game this season.
The unfortunate knocks follow Cruz’s recent calf injury, which set back his recovery and season debut, as well as tight end Daniel Fells’ MRSA infection. Coughlin gave no update on Cruz, who was supposed to be re-evaluated on Monday. The New York Daily News reported that Cruz was targeting a return against the Eagles.
Fells suffered the infection two weeks ago in his foot, and has undergone five surgical procedures to stop its spread. Doctors told ESPN they are optimistic Fells will not lose his foot as a result of the infection.