EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) - The New York Giants may finally have caught a break on the injury front.
Leading receiver Hakeem Nicks apparently only has a bone bruise on his left knee and is hopeful that he will be able to play on Monday night against the St. Louis Rams.
Nicks hurt the knee early in the first quarter on Sunday after making a 68-yard reception to set up Eli Manning’s 2-yard touchdown run. He said he hyperextended his knee on the play but later said the injury was a bone bruise, so take your pick.
An MRI on Monday found nothing structurally wrong with the knee and Nicks said it is has been feeling better the past two days.
Nicks, who led the Giants with seven catches for 122 yards in the 28-14 loss to the Washington Redskins, only did some light jogging Wednesday.
“I will take it day to day,” Nick said. “I feel way better than I did yesterday and I keep going up. I don’t see myself missing no time.”
The Giants took out an insurance policy on Wednesday in case Nicks cannot play, agreeing to terms with veteran receiver Brandon Stokley, a person familiar with the deal told The Associated Press late Wednesday.
The person spoke to The AP on condition of anonymity because Stokley had not signed the contract.
The 35-year-old Stokley had 31 catches for 354 yards last season with the Seattle Seahawks. He has played 12 NFL seasons with Baltimore, Indianapolis and Denver, winning Super Bowls with Baltimore and Indianapolis. He caught a touchdown pass in the Ravens’ win over the Giants in Super Bowl XXXV.
Nicks said he was never worried about the injury because he was able to shake it off and finish the game.
“I knew if it was something that serious I would not have been able to stay as elusive as I was,” he said. “I was still running in and out of my cuts so I knew it was nothing that serious.”
Nicks said if swelling continues to go down, he will practice before the game.
Not having a serious injury is something new for the Giants (0-1) this season.
They have lost key three players to season-ending injuries. Top Cornerback Terrell Thomas and middle linebacker Jonathan Goff were sidelined with major knee injuries and second-round draft pick Marvin Austin, a defensive tackle, tore a pectoral muscle.
Pro Bowl defensive end Osi Umenyiora is still out following arthroscopic knee surgery in the preseason, and first-round draft pick Prince Amukamara, a cornerback, just started jogging again today after breaking a foot early in camp.
Pro Bowl defensive end Justin Tuck missed the season opener with a sore neck, but hopes to play against St. Louis (0-1). He practiced on a limited basis Wednesday.
Quarterback Eli Manning said the Giants will be ready with or without Nicks.
“That’s just part of football,” Manning said. “We dealt with injuries to the receivers last year and we dealt with it fine. I thought we won some games with different guys playing receivers. We’ll be fine and we’ll adjust. We have guys who can step in a do a good job for us.”
Mario Manningham and tight end Jake Ballard were Manning’s other two big targets against Washington. Manningham had four catches for 49 yards and Ballard two for 59.
The problem was that the third and fourth receivers for the Giants didn’t contribute much. Domenik Hixon had two catches for 21 yards and Victor Cruz was blanked after dropping a third-down pass on the opening drive that would have given New York a first down.
Manning talked to Cruz after the play.
“I saw him on the sideline and (said) ‘Hey, don’t worry. We’ll come back to you. Good route. Good recognition. Just finish the play.’ He’ll be fine,” he said. “He is apt to make some plays for us.”
Still, Manning only threw in his direction one other time in the game.
Hixon, who missed all of last season with a major knee injury, had both of his catches in the second half. Moving forward, he said that he and Cruz need to do more to help out Manning and the rest of the receivers.
“Even if there are just one or two opportunities in the game,” Hixon said, “we have to take full advantage of them.”
A six-year veteran, Hixon just smiled when asked if he would like offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride to call his number more.
“Whatever role they have me playing,” he said, “I am going to accept that.”
NOTES: Amukamara doesn’t have a time frame for playing. The original guess was that he would miss at least seven weeks, and as many as 10. So, the earliest he might return would be the end of the month. … The Giants, with just 14 points, are the lowest scoring team in the NFC East.
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