The special cleats that allow Jon Beason to play for Giants this season

EAST RUTHERFORD -- Giants starting middle linebacker Jon Beason had a line of cleats in his locker this week at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center. Not all of them were usable at this point and time.

Beason needs special double-carbon-fiber-plated footwear to get on the field these days because of a right foot injury suffered in the spring and aggravated earlier this season. Carbon fiber is stronger than steel.

"That is what I'm giving up to play," Beason said earlier this week as he tried to bend the sole of his shoes without any success.

It's the result of a broken sesamoid bone and torn ligaments in his foot/toe during an Organized Team Activities (OTAs) workout in June, and an aggravation of the injury in a Week 2 loss to the Cardinals. Beason returned for the season opener, but missed three games because of the injury.

He unveiled the "secret weapon" upon his return last week against the Philadelphia Eagles. Both his head coach and defensive coordinator called called him "rusty" in the contest.

The reality is Beason (like most players during a grueling NFL season) is not going to be 100 percent the remainder of this year. He intends to play through the discomfort with the help of his new cleats and a custom-made orthotic.

It's not ideal, but it's better than the alternative -- missing more time and more games.

"This is what got me back," Beason said, pointing to the shoe (see slideshow above from the version he wore in Sunday game in Philadelphia). "If it's too pliable, then my toe just keeps going. It has to stop so I can eventually push off. So it's kind of finding that perfect balance."

Beason needs some flexibility from his footwear so he can explode. If it's too stiff, it would be like trying to run with a wooden block attached to his foot.

It's all taking some getting used to. You could see, particularly on his first few plays against the Eagles, that Beason is getting acclimated to the stiffer feel. He stumbled and almost fell over on one play. He had trouble changing directions on another.

As the game progressed, it was evident he was becoming more comfortable. Beason finished with three tackles and a pass defended on 56 snaps.

There was clearly some progress being made. Even after coach Tom Coughlin expressed concerns in previous weeks about Beason playing on turf, he was out of the field with his teammates on Thursday when the Giants practiced indoors.

Beason's been working tirelessly to make sure his healthy improves, both for the short term and the season. The toe is vital to his success. He still works to strengthen the big toe using Thera-Bands. He described it as the equivalent of weight-lifting for your toe.

"Once you have that injury to the toe, you realize how important it is," Beason said.

Cleats too. They go a long way in determining what you can do on the field and, in Beason's case, whether he can get on the field.

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