Hakeem Nicks is OK: New York Giants Avoid Disaster

David GellerAnalyst IAugust 4, 2010

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - DECEMBER 27:  Hakeem Nicks of the New York Giants against the Carolina Panthers at Giants Stadium on December 27, 2009 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Nick Laham/Getty Images

Some may say that Plaxico Burress' inability to dodge a bullet is why Hakeem Nicks is with the New York Giants.

On Wednesday, the Giants' young star proved to be able to avoid bullets of his own.

Late into Tuesday's practice, Hakeem Nicks instilled fear into everyone involved with the Giants, from the front office brass to the Sunday afternoon face-painters.

Although the knee injury wasn't evident after a particular play, Nicks had to be carted away from the field at the end of practice.

After losing Domenik Hixon under similar circumstances in minicamp, everyone feared for the worst. After all, preliminary examinations indicated that Hixon would be fine. A day later, an MRI revealed that Hixon had lost his season to a torn ACL.

Deja vu appeared to be in full force on Tuesday night, as Nicks displayed optimism that his knee injury would not cost him significant time.

However, given the events that transpired with Domenik Hixon, as well as Nicks's ability to develop into a superstar, there was still a sense of impending doom.

Luckily, two MRIs confirmed Nicks's initial thoughts. He shouldn't miss any preseason games, and could even be back on the practice field tomorrow.

A couple of months ago, I delved into the numbers and dissected how good Nicks could be in 2010 . Indeed, if the former first-round pick out of North Carolina does stay healthy, he could prove to supplant Steve Smith as the Giants' No. 1 receiver.

Although the Giants avoided disaster in this circumstance, the amount of injuries Nicks has racked up in his time with the Giants is slightly alarming. He missed time in training camp with a hamstring injury last year, then suffered a foot injury in Week One.

He came back by October, scoring a touchdown in four straight games en route to an Offensive Rookie of the Month title.

His ability to catch passes in traffic, coupled with his ability to break tackles, made him as intriguing a receiver the Giants have ever drafted.

But he hit another bump in the road in December, suffering another hamstring injury against Washington. He was pulled from that game but didn't miss either of the final two.

During the offseason, Nicks received surgery for a wrist and toe injury that plagued him all season.

No one can question his talent, but with this latest scare, it's not unreasonable to start questioning Nicks' durability.

Hunger Issues

I normally don't read too much into the quotes of players, especially in the beginning of training camp. But what Osi Umenyiora said on Tuesday made me shake my head. Again.

During a stint with the press, Osi explained the basis for his decision not to have surgery on his hip. At one point, his long-term future was addressed, prompting him to explain how a potential hip surgery factors into that.

"Sometimes I think that I do, and sometimes I'm like, 'Really what am I prolonging my career for? Everything I wanted coming into the NFL—every single thing—I've accomplished. Whether that's winning the Super Bowl or being an All-Pro player or being financially secure, I've accomplished all of that already.'"

Last year Osi finished the season demanding that his starting job be given back to him. Now he seems more than okay with becoming a backup.

Frankly, what he said has me questioning his drive.

There are several different signs when a player is checking out of the game; one of them is being content.

If Osi truly is satisfied with his accomplishments and doesn't believe there is much more to strive for, how is he going to motivate himself to overcome the rigors of a brutal NFL season?

For a three-year span, Osi appeared to be poised to launch himself into the upper-echelon of all-time Giants pass rushers.

But after suffering the knee injury then running into the problems he faced in 2009, I'm not so sure if he really wants to re-emerge as an elite pass rusher, rather then just a specialist.

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