The Giants officially returned to the cozy confines of the Timex Center in East Rutherford, N.J., and with them came the pleasant surprise of a familiar face on the practice field — wideout Hakeem Nicks.
The four-year veteran was more than anxious to get back on the field, participating in roughly 50 percent of yesterday’s team drills.
“Big day, going out there and practicing,” said Nicks. “I did a little bit of stuff last week individually, but that’s all they would let me do. Today, I got to do some reps with the team.”
Nicks, who broke his foot in May, said all along he was confident he’d make it back to work long before the Sept. 5 opener against the Cowboys. Nicks’s initial goal of making his return for the preseason opener always seemed like wishful thinking, as the Giants’ doctors and head coach Tom Coughlin said they wanted to take his recovery slowly.
As the Giants prepare for Friday night’s tilt against the Bears in the third preseason game — known as the “dress rehearsal” game when teams play their starters well into the third quarter — Nicks said he’ll leave it up to the doctors and coaches on whether he participates.
“I don’t know. They’ll see how it goes this week in practice, and then [maybe] let me go out this Friday,” said Nicks. “But I think it’s going to be based on the team doctors and coach’s decision. … I’m all for whatever they decide. I know they’ll decide whatever is best for me.”
Should Nicks be ruled out Friday, he’ll also likely sit out the final preseason game against the Patriots, which means he’ll go into the Cowboys game without a strenuous test of his repaired foot. But when asked if he’d be OK with not getting any official work in to gauge his foot, Nicks shrugged.
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“It’s important to get your feet wet before you go out there and play a whole game on it, but at the same time you understand where they’re [doctors and coaches] coming from, so whatever they decide,” he said. “[But] I do want to go out there and get a few reps, a couple series.”
After joking about having “fresh legs” from being out while his brethren sweated through camp and two preseason games, Nicks noted the toughest part of the injury was the mental part.
“My mind was saying, ‘Take it easy,’ but at the same time I still wanted to be ahead of the pace to make it back for the first [regular season] game,” he said. “The mindset is to not have any setbacks, progress and get back into the shape that I would like to be in when it comes time.”
Follow Giants beat writer Tony Williams on Twitter @TBone8.