Hakeem Nicks claimed that he would be back in time for day one of training camp almost immediately after breaking his foot in OTAs, reports ESPN. While Giants' brass admired his work ethic, they opted to remain realistic about the likelihood of the Super Bowl’s leading receiver seeing the practice field before late August.
But Nicks told Charlotte’s WFNZ-AM that he will be “definitely making training camp.” Nicks, who accounted for 76 receptions in 2011 and 1,192 yards expects to start running within the next 14 days.
Without Nicks, the Giants have options at the position. New York prefers to utilize three “starting” receivers and thus tend to be respectably deep at the position. Though Mario Manningham has left the team, the Giants are confident that second-round selection, Rueben Randle can be an immediate and consistent contributor. Obviously, Victor Cruz fills in the other starting role.
Behind Cruz and Randle sits Domenik Hixon. Hixon was penciled in as the starter at the opening of training camp in 2009. Hixon lost his spot to Manningham and eventually would slide south of a rookie Nicks on the depth chart. After two back-to-back torn ACLs, Hixon has only played in two regular season games since 2010.
The Giants re-signed Hixon this season at a bargain price in hopes that he can be a steady veteran presence and possibly enhance the return game.
Hixon will be battling with Ramses Barden and Jerrel Jernigan for depth chart positioning. Barden is in the most danger of being cut in favor of one of the UDFA rookies that the Giants are bringing into camp.
New York headed into training camp last season unsure of who would fill the role of Steve Smith. Smith had accounted for 107 receptions in 2009, but an injury plagued season and an expiring contract spelled an end to his time with the club.
Whether or not Nicks truly sees the field during training camp will remain a question for at least the coming month. If he does not suffer a setback, he is expected to be on the field for Week 1 regardless of the practice time he gets in during the summer months.