EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — New York Giants offensive tackle Will Beatty doesn't want to be too specific about the right leg that he broke in the final game of last season.
While doctors have cleared him to take part in training camp and now participate in preseason games, the 29-year-old doesn't want his leg to be the focus of the season.
Medically, his left leg is still a little stronger than his surgically repaired right one. Sure, the right one is OK, but there are differences.
When he wakes up in the morning, the right leg needs a little extra time to loosen up and he quips his dunking ability isn't what it used to be. It doesn't surprise Beatty, and maybe that will change with time.
For now, Beatty isn't complaining. He's playing football again after breaking his tibia — the shinbone — and he will play in a game for the first time since being hurt in late December when the Giants travel to Indianapolis to take on the Colts in a preseason game on Saturday night.
"I am expecting a lot from myself," said Beatty, who is entering his sixth season, his fourth as a starter. "I am going up against (Robert) Mathis, and it is his 11th year in the league, and knowing it's a preseason game, but his intensity to the game and how he plays it, he will look at it as a regular-season game.
"Each snap he gets, he is going to give it his best. This is my marker of how well I have trained during the offseason to recover and get back to top shape."
Beatty seemingly is ahead of schedule in terms of his recovery. He had surgery in early January and there were many who wondered whether he would be ready for the season opener against Detroit on Sept. 8.
While he has practiced since training camp opened, he did not play in the first two preseason games. He has worked with the first team this week and he will start against the Colts.
Coach Tom Coughlin said the starters are expected to play into the second quarter, although Beatty might get less work.
Beatty never had a timetable for his return. He wanted to be able to play in the Hall of Fame game, but coming back for the third game is acceptable.
"They are allowing me to get back out there and do what I do," the former University of Connecticut player said. "I know out there in a game uniform and all that I am not going to be thinking about my leg at all. I know (Mathis) won't be thinking about my leg when he's rushing. I am preparing for a good matchup and I'll know afterward when I am watching film that it will determine where (I) am at. That is where (I'll) see that I went live and how I did."
The Giants need a big year from Beatty, who signed a five-year, $37 million contract in February 2013. He struggled with the entire offensive line last season and the pressure is on the revamped group this year with a new offense being installed by coordinator Ben McAdoo.
The only holdovers on the line are second-year right tackle Justin Pugh and Beatty. Free agents Geoff Schwartz and J.D. Walton have replaced Kevin Boothe and David Baas at left guard and center, respectively, and Brandon Mosley is at right guard for the recently retired Chris Snee.
"It's a new group, new playbook," Beatty said. "It not the same offense as last year so you can't say what you did last year, you are going to do this year. There are so many new variables that everyone has to see how this offensive line responds. We are already starting off better than we started off last year. That is an improvement and we just have to keep improving on it and moving forward."
Beatty needs to prove himself again because the Giants are not going to allow him to have another bad season. His salary might be a target if he does not play well and his starting job isn't a given.
"It's not going to be 'this is your first game back and we're giving you an excuse,'" Beatty said. "It's going to be you're out here playing and the best five will play. If you want to be out there playing, you better be one of the best five."
NOTES: Coach Tom Coughlin, general manager Jerry Reese and quarterback Eli Manning took the ice-bucket challenge after practice, the last one open to the public. ... Coughlin said first-round draft pick, WR Odell Bechham Jr., would not play this week. He has been bothered by a hamstring injury since camp opened. ... Manning and WR Rueben Randle had a miscommunication on a sideline pass. Randle never made the out cut and cornerback Zack Bowman gladly intercepted the ball. Manning, Randle and receivers coach Sean Ryan talked after the play.
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