Jon Beason leaves OTAs after NY Giants linebacker injures right foot

For all the millions of dollars the Giants spent on their defense during the offseason, they know there is still one player they can’t afford to lose. That’s why they were holding their breath on Thursday morning after linebacker Jon Beason had to be carted off the practice field with an injured foot.

The middle linebacker, and likely defensive captain, suffered what Tom Coughlin first described as an injury to the bottom of his right foot midway through the Giants’ second to last OTA. Coughlin later said he wasn’t sure what part of the foot Beason hurt, only that he “felt something” while running across the field during a play.

Beason pulled up limping after suffering the injury, but he was able to walk over to the sidelines where trainers examined his foot, before summoning a cart. The only good news was he was at least able to ride in the passenger seat, rather than having to lay across the back.

He was later sent to the Hospital for Special Surgery in Manhattan for further evaluation. No update was immediately available. Coughlin’s only prognosis was, “We’ll see.”

The coach did not hedge on the importance of the 29-year-old Beason, calling him “very important. Because of the nature of the player, the man, the attitude, what he brings to the table, the leadership skills, (he’s) very important,” Coughlin said.

That was clear last October when the Giants acquired him in a trade with the Carolina Panthers for a seventh-round pick. Beason joined a defense that was often marked by confusion and immediately settled things down. His teammates frequently credited him for his leadership and the way the unit jelled, finishing as the eighth-ranked defense in the NFC.

The Giants were so pleased with Beason that he was rewarded with a three-year, $16.8 million contract in March, despite his long and troublesome injury history. A first-round pick of the Panthers in 2007 and a three-time Pro-Bowler (2008, 2009, 2010), Beason tore his left Achilles in 2011 and missed all but one game that season.

One year later he landed on injured reserve again with injuries to his knee and his shoulder. Both required surgery, but the surgery on his right knee was a microfracture procedure to fix damaged cartilage. That knee was still bothering him a year later when he lost his job in Carolina to ex-Giants linebacker Chase Blackburn, which led to his trade to Big Blue.

He certainly did not look hurt in his 12 games with the Giants last season. In fact, he looked like a player the Giants could build around. After Beason left on Thursday, the Giants rotated rookie Devan Kennard, veteran Mark Herzlich and newly acquired Jameel McClain in his middle linebacker spot.

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