The New York Giants' wide-receiving corps suffered a big blow on Thursday when Hakeem Nicks reportedly went down with a fractured right foot.
According to Michael Eisen of Giants.com, the wideout fractured the fifth metatarsal of his right foot early during New York's second OTA workout and could miss 12 weeks. He was running a route during individual drills.
UPDATE: Tuesday, May 29, 3:40 p.m. ET by Donald Wood
While the original timetable for the return from a broken foot for New York Giants wide receiver Hakeem Nicks was about three months, the star hopes to be back on the field much sooner.
Giants head coach Tom Coughlin told ESPN New York about his conversation with Nicks and when he is hoping to get back:
‘I'll be back for training camp' were his final words. I said OK. I would accept a day or two after the start of camp, (that) would be fine. I really appreciated his optimism. He has a cast and is elevated. He told me he was pretty much pain-free.
New York has proved year-after-year that it’s not how a team starts the season, but how they finish it. The Giants would be better off telling Nicks to slow-play the injury and make sure it’s 100 percent before attempting a comeback.
Eli Manning needs him in February more than September.
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UPDATE: Saturday, May 26 at 9:27 p.m. ET
According to Paul Schwartz of the New York Post, Nicks underwent successful surgery in Charlotte, NC.
The team is sticking to a 12-week timetable for his return, meaning he should be available for their regular season opener against the Dallas Cowboys on September 5.
UPDATE: Friday, May 25 at 9:55 a.m. ET
Adam Schefter of ESPN reports the injury might not be as serious as originally feared, giving Nicks a better chance to get back to full strength in time for the season.
One person familiar with WR Hakeem Nicks' fractured foot said it was more like a "4- to 6-week" injury. Opener vs Dallas still in play.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) May 25, 2012
On the low end, that's two months less than early projections for the injury, which is great news for the Giants. The team's wide receiver depth would be thin without Nicks, so getting him back quickly would calm any fears as the Giants look to defend their title.
Nicks, a third-year wideout, will have a screw inserted into the bone on Thursday by Dr. Robert Anderson, a foot and ankle specialist based in Charlotte, NC. He should be fully recovered within 12 weeks, which puts him in line to be 100 percent healthy in time for the season opener at home against the Dallas Cowboys on September 5.
Mandatory minicamp will go from June 12 to June 14, so Nicks will likely be unable to participate. He'll also likely miss all nine OTAs prior to the start of minicamp. If he requires the full 12 weeks to recuperate, it is entirely possible he may miss training camp and all four preseason games.
What It Means
The Giants lose their second-leading receiver just a couple of months after losing another of their top-four receivers, Mario Manningham, to free agency. Last season, Nicks registered 76 receptions for 1,192 yards and seven touchdowns, which tied him with running back Brandon Jacobs (also lost to free agency) for third on the team.
For the Giants, losing one of their top sources of offense is obviously a blow, especially on a wide-receiving unit that's growing thinner by the day. But at least the recovery time is short and he'll be ready to go once the games truly matter.
What Comes Next
At least Nicks won't be missing during any of the actual NFL season, though his preparation for 2012 will certainly be affected. Coming back in time for training camp would be ideal, but if he takes a little longer than that, so be it.
The situation could be worse, and at least Nicks is young enough to be able to heal and rebound quickly. The worst thing the team could do is rush him back and have him re-aggravate the injury in the preseason.