|Giants WR Hakeem Nicks could return Sunday to boost Eli Manning's passing game. (US Presswire)|
For the first time since Week 2, the Giants have a realistic shot at having wide receiver Hakeem Nicks on the field this Sunday against the San Francisco 49ers. Nicks (knee/foot), along with right tackle David Diehl (knee) and cornerback Corey Webster (hamstring/hand) were all listed as questionable on the injury report.
After practicing on Thursday, Nicks told the media that Friday would be the “deciding factor,” so Giants fans will be glad to hear that he did, in fact, participate in Friday's practice.
“I did the majority of the practice,” Nicks said in a statement Friday. “About four or five reps a period.”
Nicks said the coaches didn't notice him compensating for his injuries at all and now he's waiting to see how his body responds Saturday morning.
“I would like to see what the coaches are going to say, what they're going to say about it in the morning and what the trainers are going to say, but I think I've got a pretty good shot,” Nicks said.
Defensive tackle Rocky Bernard (quad), running back Andre Brown (concussion) and safety Kenny Phillips (knee) are out, while wide receiver Ramses Barden (concussion), tight end Martellus Bennett (knee), middle linebacker Chase Blackburn (hip), weakside linebackers Michael Boley (hip) and Keith Rivers (hamstring), cornerback Jayron Hosley (hamstring) and safety Antrel Rolle (knee) are probable for Week 6.
Tackles Will Beatty and Sean Locklear have played well while Diehl has been out (Coughlin said “We'll see” when asked if he could return) and Webster rested his hamstring on Friday (Coughlin said it was a “precautionary” measure), but the biggest question mark remains Nicks.
If Nicks can't play, expect Domenik Hixon to start in his place, Rookie Rueben Randle and veteran Ramses Barden should see plenty of snaps as well.
Coughlin wasn't divulging too much information on Friday. He said the decision on Nicks could be made before the team flies to California at noon on Saturday. However, Coughlin stressed that Nicks' swollen left knee could be treated on the plane, so they're not going to hesitate bringing him to San Francisco, even if they're not sure he'll play.
“He'll be cared for on the flight,” Coughlin said. “If there's a possibility, they'll travel.”
Bernard was hopeful he could return this week, but Coughlin explained that his injury isn't minor and backups Marvin Austin and Markus Kuhn will have to step up.
“It's a significant injury,” Coughlin said of Bernard's quadriceps. “It just takes time. He's trying. He's working, he's better, but he's not to the point where he can start and stop and any of that business. It takes time.
“The two of them have got to be big factors in the game this week, obviously because of the run,” Coughlin said of Kuhn and Austin. “So they're going to have to play as well as they've ever played and hopefully they're prepared to do that.”
Hosley said he is “definitely” playing on Sunday, so you can expect to see him at nickelback.
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