EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- When New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. was asked Wednesday how his injured right thumb was doing, he answered with a thumbs-up and a smile.
It prompted laughter. But the injury isn't a laughing matter when Beckham gets on the field. That's when he's forced to deal with pain.
"[It hurts] every time it hits there," Beckham said. "And then in the game, I was going down to the ground and had my hand over the ball and they tried to rip at the ball and ripped straight thumb. It doesn't feel good.
"I don't think you ever really notice how much your thumb bumps into stuff and kind of gets out of this little movement until you have one that is hurt and it gets caught on a hoodie. And it's bad."
The pain might be worth it in this case. Beckham left in the first half of Sunday's win over the Cleveland Browns to have the thumb checked. He returned and scored two touchdowns, with a third being negated by a penalty on a punt return.
Beckham has had thumb injuries before, and he thinks it helps his game by forcing him to focus even more on catching the ball.
"There is not really much you can do at this point in time of the season. You kind of just have to play with it," Beckham said. "It happened to me in college, high school and, in a sense, it doesn't really hurt me because now I have to focus more on catching the ball. I have to really lock in the focus of where you're placing your hands.
"So I've kind of noticed it actually almost makes me catch better, minus the pain. It allows me to lock into another focus."
Beckham and the Giants don't seem overly concerned with the problem as he hasn't been listed on the team's injury report.
Beckham even had no problem catching and returning punts in the second half against the Browns, and coach Ben McAdoo has left open the possibility of him continuing to do so after Bobby Rainey struggled in the first half.
"You can [get injured] playing football. You can [get injured] crossing the street," Beckham said. "It's part of life. I don't really worry about being hurt at all."
Giants WR Odell Beckham Jr. says thumb injury helps makes him better